In unanimous action Tuesday, the Mason County PUD 3 Board of Commissioners passed a resolution opposing Initiative 732, the Carbon Pollution Tax Act.
Increased taxes on electricity customers, unclear impacts on the Washington State budget, and concerns over measuring emissions from power generation were among the reasons the PUD 3 board adopted Resolution No. 1559.
Linda Gott is President of the PUD 3 Commission:
A news release quotes Gott as saying:
“The intent of the initiative is admirable,” said Linda Gott, commission president. “Mason PUD 3’s electricity is already 97 percent carbon free. Based on studies from the Washington PUD Association, the tax on the three percent of our electricity that comes from natural gas and coal could increase costs to our customers between $567,000 and nearly $1.9 million in the first year alone.” (Depending on high or low water years for hydroelectric generation.)
In addition, the initiative suggest the use of the Washington State Fuel Mix report for monthly tax calculations. The report comes out once a year. The basis of some of its computations are not clear.
Supporters of the initiative say it provides cleaner energy solutions by taxing carbon, while offsetting increased costs with tax breaks. The basic elements of the initiative include*:
- A $25 per ton tax on fossil fuels.
- A reduction of the state sales tax.
- Funding a “Working Families Tax Rebate.”
- A reduction of the Washington State Business & Occupation tax on manufacturing.
*Information from Carbon Washington (Yes on I-732) Website.
The tax would be listed as a separate item on a customers’ bill.
PUD 3 Commissioner Bruce Jorgenson said the tax could be as high as $100 a year:
Commissioner Tom Farmer said the initiative was poorly written:
The Carbon Emission Tax initiative 732 is a state statute proposal which will be on the November 8th General Election ballot.