Morning Fizz

Social Justice, Environmental, and Labor Coalition Signs Voters' Guide Statement Against Carbon Tax Initiative

The housing crisis, the environmental crisis, and the homelessness crisis.

By Josh Feit August 23, 2016

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 1. Seattle Transit Blog’s editor Martin Duke has added to the rush of recent posts  trying to make sense of the affordable housing crisis.

Duke argues that the two conventional measurements—median single family home price and median rents—lack the context to distill the mechanics of the problem, and in turn, get at solutions.

He recommends a “rental index” that would “measure the change in the rent of the same units over time.”

Read his explanation here.

2. You can get an early jump on figuring out this November’s statewide ballot measures; the secretary of state has posted the ballot language and the pro and con statements.

Pro-tip: Pay attention to the pro and con statements on the carbon tax initiative, I-732, a measure that Seattle liberals are likely to support at a first glance—after all, it proposes a tax on carbon emissions.

But you should also pay attention to who wrote the pro and con statements. On the pro side a former GOP state senate majority leader and former head of Starbucks. On the con side: A coalition of the sate’s leading civil rights, social justice, environmental, and labor groups including the executive directors of OneAmerica and Puget Sound Sage and the head of the Washington State Labor Council.

Why is a coalition of progressives lining up against I-732? For starters, the measure reduces the sales tax by a percentage point, which, according to a state budget analysis will cut sate revenues by nearly $800 million over the next six years. Additionally, the lefty critics say the initiative fails to prioritize the revenue from the tax into environmental investments that focus on those most vulnerable to climate change.

In “unendorsing” the measure, Bill McKibben’s wrote, for example, "Our reason [to “unendorse”], above all, is that we want to support our allies in people-of-color-led climate justice groups that represent those on the frontlines of climate change."

3. Mayor Ed Murray is creating a task force, including homeless advocacy groups and business groups, to come up with new recommendations on how to clear out illegal homeless encampments—something city council, labeling them “sweeps,” has demanded the city stop doing in the first place.

Seattle Times investigative reporter Mike Baker published a big piece last Friday documenting how problematic sweeps are—showing how homeless people’s lives are upended by the policy. 

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