SB 6203 - Despite high cost, proposed carbon tax would have delivered little environmental benefit

Mar 8, 2018

Download file Read the full Legislative Memo on SB 6203 here!


Key Findings

  • Despite claims it focuses on CO2 reduction, SB 6203 would spend half of the money on projects that do nothing to reduce emissions.
  • The effectiveness standards set by the bill are so weak, it is unlikely the bill would meet the CO2 reduction targets.
  • Although the legislation includes effectiveness standards, the bill would make them secondary to other priorities like “environmental justice” and union requirements.


Is it worth it? Are we getting the most bang for our buck? Despite the high cost of the proposed carbon tax, some would argue it is worth it. The seriousness of the environmental threat, they argue, justifies the high cost of the new tax. The assumption, however, is that the carbon tax bill would actually achieve its goals, reducing carbon emissions to meet the targets supporters say are required to combat global warming.

Additionally, many carbon tax supporters who argue climate change is a crisis seem to be less concerned about whether their policies are effective, offering the most environmental benefit for every dollar spent. Instead, they are willing to sacrifice the goal of environmental benefit to other vague goals like “social justice,” that take money away from environmental projects.

Despite unsupported claims that the proposed carbon tax would make Washington a “leader” on climate policy, in fact the bill would likely fail to live up to its promises, siphoning off money to special-interest priorities and using the money that remains wastefully.

Building on the previous cost analysis, this Legislative Memo examines what Washington state would get for that cost, to see if the proposed carbon tax bill would live up to its promises. Analysis shows the simple answer is “no.” The politics and structure of the bill make it virtually impossible for it to address the environmental problems it claims it would solve.

Download file Read the full Legislative Memo on SB 6203 here!