Unemployment in King County sits under the national average at 4.9%. While rural communities in our state, such as Yakima County are double the average, at 11.3%. As the county-by-county map of Washington shows, 37 of 39 Washington counties have unemployment above the national average. Why does this matter? Because outside of King County the value of a job is much higher and manufacturing plays a more important role. It’s simply harder to find a job if you lose one in Yakima than if you lose one in Seattle.
Unfortunately, Governor Inslee’s proposed cap and trade carbon tax plan would only make matters worse. According to an independent analysis of the Governor’s plan, it will result in an average of 56,000 fewer jobs annually in Washington than expected – 6,000 of those would come out of the manufacturing sector. California’s experience with a similar cap and trade tax plan shows us what happens to manufacturing when you dramatically increase the cost of energy. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, annual job growth in the manufacturing sector has been above 6 percent. In California, manufacturing jobs are growing at less than 1 percent. That’s a sign of what’s to come to rural communities if the Governor gets his way.
But a Washington cap and trade tax plan would hurt rural families in more ways than just employment. An increase of $0.12 in a gallon of gas, which the Governor’s analysts say will occur immediately under his plan, is going to disproportionately impact rural families – many of whom need two cars, drive longer distances, and lack transit options.
When it comes to employment and transportation, residents of King County have options others don’t have. But, we share the common goal of implementing policies to protect our air and water. Unfortunately, Governor Inslee’s cap and trade tax plan will force rural families and workers to bear the brunt of his misguided policy.