160-page instruction manual on ‘how to live your life’ unwelcome, Kretz says

Residents encouraged to speak up on expensive, liberty-killing bill



Citing the complex maze of new tax policies and schemes, driving restrictions and land use provisions that could be created due to House Bill 1819 put forward by Democrats, Rep. Joel Kretz said the legislation is a solution in search of a problem.

Rural Washingtonians, Kretz said, are living their lives just fine without the bill he calls “downtown Seattle’s instruction manual for rural living.”

House Bill 1819 is scheduled for a hearing Feb. 17 in the House Ecology and Parks Committee where it will likely be passed on to House Rules where it will await floor action.

The nearly 160-page bill would create a “cap and trade” system that would tax businesses for emissions, create land use restrictions to force urban living, and curb vehicle miles traveled by imposing a tax or toll per mile driven. Kretz said these proposals would disproportionally hurt rural and fixed-income residents.

“From what I’ve heard from constituents, 7th District folks are saying ‘thanks, but no thanks’ to more of Seattle’s good ideas for rural Washington,” said Kretz, R-Wauconda. “Folks are fired up about this bill. The question being asked most is: Are the governor and Democrats so out of touch they don’t see that folks are hurting right now? Greater restrictions on liberties through taxation is not a good plan ever, but this kind of stuff is even more heinous when the economy is sputtering.”

Kretz said he hopes folks will pay close attention on cap and trade and participate in the debate surrounding the “green initiatives” pushed by Seattle Democrats.

“Folks need to speak up on this issue, whether they can call, write or send an e-mail with their thoughts,” said Kretz. “There’s an itch to raise taxes in Olympia, and I’m urging residents to join me in discouraging the rash of bad ideas in this bill.”

He encourages constituents who would like to comment on the bill to call the governor’s office at (360) 902-4111, or the legislative hotline at 1-800-562-6000 to leave a message.

“Here’s what I hope people will understand about cap and trade – it’s not about making Washington’s environment cleaner. Washington is already clean. Our state accounts for only one-third of 1 percent of all global greenhouse gas emissions. Cap and trade would be negligible in terms of creating a cleaner Washington environment. This leads me to believe the bill is all about money,” said Kretz. “It’s basically wealth distribution wrapped in ‘green’ policies.

“The ‘cap and tax’ policy would generate billions of dollars by taxing businesses and families,” Kretz added. “Do we really need new taxes? Does anyone feel under-taxed? From what I’ve heard, folks are gearing up for a tea party, and I’m happy to lead the revolt against new and higher taxes in any form. I simply will not support new or higher taxes.”

House Bill 1819 would impose a cap and trade system in Washington. The idea of this system is to “cap” the amount of carbon emitted in the state from any business producing over a certain amount, including vehicles that carry agricultural products and goods. Businesses would be required to purchase allowances at auction from a Western Climate Initiative entity to allow them to emit levels of carbon over this amount.

If businesses did not have enough allowances to cover their emissions, they would have to pay hefty fines of up to $10,000 per day. If businesses did not use all of their allowances, they could sell them on an open market.

“This speculation scheme sounds eerily similar to the system that caused Enron’s collapse, Kretz said. “That didn’t work out well for consumers or investors, and neither will this plan.”

Kretz can be reached at (360) 786-7988 or via e-mail at kretz.joel@leg.wa.gov.

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Washington State House Republican Communications