Letters to the Editor, Oct. 5, 2018

Soda tax; carbon initiative; PSE

Don’t be tricked by soda tax deception

Imagine this: A soda pop business executive appears on a commercial explaining the real reasons for their support of Initiative 1634.

“These soda taxes threaten our bottom line, and in a contest pitting child health and welfare against our profits, we must choose our profits. Yes, this initiative may result in higher rates of childhood obesity, tooth decay and overall misery, but it will stop the threat of new soda taxes to our earnings. We big soda executives need your help, and so do our wealthy shareholders. Please vote yes on I-1634.”

That is a commercial that you will never see.

Instead, an apparently sincere woman appears, concerned about taxes on groceries, because “it is hard enough to make ends meet.” Did she and her fellow grocery shoppers pay for that spot? Not on your life – it was the big soda companies. Do they care about helping financially challenged Washingtonians make ends meet? Certainly not. I don’t see them stepping forward to pay for all the dental care their products necessitate.

I hope that Washingtonians will not be tricked by the self serving and deceptive advertising campaign funded by big soda. When you see the sincere woman, remember that she is not the true speaker. Rather, cynical interests are speaking through her to mask their selfish goal of higher profits at the expense of Washington’s children.

Vote “No” on I-1634.

Timothy Siegel

Bellevue

Bellevue Chamber takes pass on I-1631

The Bellevue Chamber of Commerce has announced it will decline to support Initiative 1631, which seeks to impose a new carbon emissions fee, beginning at $15 per ton in 2020. The chamber strongly supports carbon reduction but believes the costs of the measure to businesses and consumers are too high.

If adopted, Initiative 1631 would impose an energy tax on Washington business and families for years to come. According to the state Office of Financial Management, that amounts to $3.2 billion in increased costs in gasoline and heating fuel, as well as electricity, natural gas and other energy sources. The immediate impact at the pump is expected to be 15 cents per gallon and that is just next year. To make matters worse for consumers of energy, the fee will continue to rise year after year until at least 2035.

Supporters of Initiative 1631 claim the fee will be imposed upon the most egregious corporate polluters. Unfortunately, so-called Energy Intensive Trade Industries, including in-state coal-fired plants, as well as pulp and paper mills and chemical manufacturers, will be exempt from the new fee. To make matters worse, there are no general B&O or sales tax reductions to lessen the impact of the carbon emission fee on small and medium-sized businesses and working families. Revenue collected will be allocated by an unelected board, with no guaranteed direct participation by legislators, small business owners or taxpayers.

“The chamber strongly supports the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and believes this can best be done by a system of incentives, rather than mandates,” said outgoing Bellevue Chamber Board chair Jim Hill. “Initiative 1631 ends up being a tax on business and individuals who consume energy.”

The chamber believes the best way to reduce carbon is through electrification of the transportation sector. In partnership with other business organizations and NGOs, the chamber is actively supporting deployment of flexible, electric van pools on Interstate 405/state Route 167, the siting of zero-emission vehicle charging stations in Bellevue and along I-405, and it will support legislation in the coming session to restore an alternative fuel vehicle tax exemption or credit, and electrification of public sector agency fleet vehicles. Moreover, the chamber will collaborate with other business organizations to ensure Volkswagen settlement funds are spent in a way that achieves real carbon reduction sooner, rather than later.

Chris Johnson

Government relations director

Bellevue Chamber of Commerce

Don’t let PSE overrule us

I am writing to express my dismay about the proposed Phantom Lake Lake Hills transmission line in Bellevue.

I live along Northeast Eighth Street, along the proposed route. My family has lived on the Eastside for 30 years.

I am originally from rural Minnesota, home to another big energy company like Puget Sound Energy. The energy company in Minnesota went to the farmers and said, “Guess what? We have a great idea. We are going to build a transmission line. Oh, and by the way, it is going to go right through your fields. But you won’t mind. After all, everyone needs energy.”

“What if we don’t agree,” the farmers asked.

”Oh, that won’t matter,” the energy company replied. “We will just overrule you, and build it anyway. ”

And they did.

Fast forward to today. PSE comes to our condo complex and says: “Guess what? We have a great idea. We are going to build a transmission line. Oh, and by the way, it is going to go right along your street, in front of your homes, and we are going to cut down 300 trees. But you won’t mind. Everyone needs energy.”

“What if we don’t agree,” the homeowners ask.

“It won’t matter. We will just overrule you and build it anyway,” PSE replies.

Enter the groups CENSE (Coalition of Eastside Neighborhoods for Sensible Energy) and East Bellevue Community Council. They blocked the project for a short time. PSE appeals the decision until the court rules it in PSE’s favor. Enter CENSE again. This time with a plan to hire a consultant to show how PSE manipulated data to make it look like we needed this transmission line when we really don’t. Surprise. PSE refuses to provide CENSE the data needed to complete the study. If PSE really had nothing to hide from the public, they would have released this data.

So, here I sit on Northeast Eighth Street with pole number 11 going to go up in front of my house and 300 trees going to be cut.

Join 300trees.org. Sign the petition on their website. Support a smart grid solution instead.

Amy Faith

Bellevue

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