- October 21, 2018
- Washington State Budget and Policy Center
- Andy Nicholas
As we’ve previously written, Initiative 1631 would inject hundreds of millions of dollars per year directly into communities in Washington by imposing a carbon pollution fee on businesses that emit large amounts of carbon dioxide or sell carbon-laden fuels. Revenues from the fee would help our state transition to a dynamic, low-carbon economy with cleaner air and water. And a substantial portion of the new revenue would be rightly invested directly into communities that have been most harmed by decades of air pollution.
Yet to persuade voters to reject this commonsense initiative on the November ballot, opponents (mostly massive, multinational oil companies) frequently reference an unrealistically high estimate of the pollution fee’s average cost to households. While the measure would appropriately increase the costs of carbon-intensive fuels, the actual average impact on households is up to $100 per year lower than opponents are claiming.
In reality, I-1631 would raise high-carbon fuel and energy costs by an average of $13 per month per Washington household in 2020. That’s a small price to pay for cleaner air, healthier communities, and more efficient energy and transportation infrastructure – all of which would create new good-paying jobs in the clean energy, or “green jobs” sector. This estimate is derived from the same model used by the state Office of Financial Management to estimate the amount of revenue that would be generated each year under I-1631.¹