Lots of news, some of it good, but we still have work to do to get carbon pricing on the front burner:
1) On the transportation front, Governor Inslee “pledged to reduce carbon emissions in the state’s transportation system” and named a new transportation secretary, Oregonian Lynn Peterson, who appears to feel similarly. It will be interesting to see how they react to the House Democrats’ transportation proposal, a $10 billion package that is terribly tilted towards road expansion. In my view, the only piece of good news in the House proposal is that everybody (labor, enviros, and I’m sure business, too) wants to increase the size of the package… and a carbon tax would be a great way to do that.
2) Just in any case anybody’s forgotten, the legislature also has to deal with education funding, and we’re still looking for ways to inject carbon taxes into that conversation. Ideas welcome!
3) Overall, the path forward is to advance our positive vision of how carbon taxes can be used to address transportation, education, and/or tax reform, and at the same time be prepared to work in opposition to a road-heavy transportation package that will take us in the wrong direction. (As noted last time, it’s unlikely that a transportation package will come out of Olympia this session, but if one does then at least it will do away with the argument about whether a carbon-tax-for-transportation-infrastructure package would be good or bad for the climate; hopefully just about everybody on this list can agree that a roads-heavy package is bad bad bad.)
I say keep it simple. Really simple.
Start at something like $20/ton, and raise it by $2/ton each year.
Devote 50% of the net (after admin costs) money to transportation (if you insist), and 50% to education.
To do it at the state level, you will need California’s approach to evading the Commerce Clause.
The draft that split the money nine ways was much too complicated for the initiative process.