Final: The Road Ahead

Like many other students in class, I also joined the Lobby Day in Olympia to support I-732. I’ve met with Representative Chris Reykdal, Senate Karen Fraser from the 22nd District, and Representative Jessyn Farrell, Representative Gerry Pollet from my own district. Instead of just recording what we’ve discussed, I’d want to share my views of the whole issues.IMG_9368

What’s my attitude to I-732?

I -732 is a creative and innovative approach to cut carbon emissions.
It includes four key points:

  • Add a $25 per metric ton tax to polluting fossil fuels
  • Reduce the B&O tax on manufacturing
  • Cut the sales tax by 1 cent
  • Fund the Working Families Tax Rebate

I supported I-732 in lobby day with the similar words below.

“Although I am an international student from the University of Washington, but I do care about the I-732. Because I am willing to set my home here, so I’d like to see a world with cleaner air and cleaner water. I’ve studied transportation engineering for many years. So from the side of transportation, I-732 may not only potentially reduce the consumption of fossil fuels, but also alleviate traffic congestion pollution to some degree.”

What did they concern?

With discussion with Rep. Jessyn Farrell and Rep. Gerry Pollet, I noticed that they were familiar with I-732 and they offered support for the initiative or alternative. Nevertheless, what they really concerned was the next step. From the point of Rep. Jessyn Farrel, we should put more efforts to obtain more voters in our side to support I-732 on the one hand. On the other hand, if there is a possible I-732b, we should also consider to support it.

What do I think?

As we know, I-732 is designed to be revenue-neutral, so this might be the reason why there were so many rumors related to I-732b. In my opinion, lawmakers would like to adopt a revenue-positive measure. However, recently, there was an article mentioned I-732 is not workable because it would reduce state revenues. Based on the four-year impact of the measure, the Office of Financial Management estimates that state revenues would be reduced by $914 million. Carbon WA leaders disputed this finding, but Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, D-Burien, chair of the House Environment Committee said they trusted the experts.

To be honest, I have no idea which side I should trust for now. However, I do know that we don’t have much time for other options. So basically, lawmakers have only two courses of actions:

  • Send I-732 to voters as it is
  • Offer an alternative plan and place it on the ballot alongside I-732

However, it is still ideal that lawmakers would devise their own alternative I-732b. Before that, I’d like to hold the view that it is more practical that lawmakers are likely to pass the measure along to voters in November.

What’s the next?

According to the official WAcarbon, WAcarbon will continue to have in-depth conversations about carbon taxes and I-732b option with legislators. And they will also launch a campaign for the November ballot.

But just as I said before, I still think the November ballot is more practical. The more votes we have, the more chance we’ll get to see a healthier Washington State.

 

*I’ve learned a lot through this event. It is the first time that I know the appearance in Olympia will work. It is likewise the first time I get to understand the difference of public participation between United States and China. I’d like to appreciate this chance to push me to get familiar with the whole procedure.
*After meeting with my district representatives, I’ve sent the follow-up emails to say thanks and my concerns. But unluckily, I didn’t get any feedback yet.

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