(SPOKANE, Wash.) –Greater Spokane Inc.’s (GSI) Board of Trustees voted this week to oppose Initiative 1631, which seeks to impose a new carbon emissions fee.
I-1631 would establish an escalating fee on carbon emissions starting at $15 per metric ton, immediately adding 14 cents per gallon to the cost of gasoline. The fee would increase annually by $2 per ton plus inflation. The fee would rise up to an estimated $1 billion per year to start, and those funds would be distributed by a newly created, unelected board made up of people from different interest groups. The fee continues to escalate each year unless the legislature caps it well into the future. This places Washington as the only state with the fee, with citizens paying the highest fee in the nation.
“After careful consideration, our public policy council and Board of Trustees concluded I-1631 is not the right way to reduce emissions,” said Todd Mielke, CEO, Greater Spokane Inc. “We share the goal of protecting our environment, but this initiative will raise the cost of energy for families and employers while offering little assurance it will result in a meaningful reduction of carbon emissions.”
The GSI Board notes that small businesses across the state would have to pay more for higher electricity, fuel and natural gas with price increases that would continue to rise indefinitely, placing an unfair burden on small and medium-sized businesses.
“The goal of this initiative is to convert from fossil fuels to renewable energy like wind and solar. Spokane serves as an agricultural hub for all of Eastern Washington. Higher fuel prices will hit agriculture extremely hard, and cannot be replaced by these alternative energy sources. This will have a significant impact on the economy of Eastern Washington, and the competitiveness of our crops on the global market,” said Mielke.
The GSI Board voted earlier this month to support the East Valley School District Capital Levy and the School District & City Facility Improvement Partnerships Projects also on the November ballot.
About Greater Spokane Inc. (GSI)
Greater Spokane Inc. is the Spokane region’s business development organization. GSI creates the place where organizations come together to advocate for the region, drive strategic economic growth, and champion a talented workforce. GSI is funded through a combination of private and public investment, including nearly 1,200 private-sector members; Spokane County; Washington State Department of Commerce; and the cities of Spokane, Spokane Valley, Cheney, Deer Park, Liberty Lake, Airway Heights, Medical Lake, Millwood and Newport, and the Kalispel Tribe of Indians. For more information visit GreaterSpokane.org.
About Greater Spokane Inc. Public Policy Council
GSI’s Public Policy Council is a diverse group of business and community leaders with expertise in public affairs, and works year-round to identify, educate, and advocate for public policy priorities and issues that support a healthy economy and a thriving Spokane region. The Council identifies and discusses local, state, and federal issues that may impact our economy and local business climate. Issues are vetted by the Council and a formal recommendation is made to the Board of Trustees. The Council also leads the annual state and federal agenda development process, helps organize the Olympia and DC advocacy trips, and collaborates with a state and federal lobbyist on projects and advocacy issues.