Polls: Gov. Should Go Slow on Climate Initiative

Date: December 10, 2014

Related Content: News State Washington

OLYMPIA, Wash., Dec. 10, 2014—The combined results from two polls released today of likely voters and small-business owners provided state policymakers with the public’s views on climate change initiatives being considered in the governor’s office or the Legislature, which opens a new session on January 12.
“Washington small businesses and voters, by a large margin, agree that Governor Inslee should not act on his climate agenda until all the facts are known and debated,” said Patrick Connor, Washington state director for the National Federation of Independent Business, America’s largest small-business advocate. “We all want clean air and water, and Washington small-business owners take environmental stewardship very seriously. However, it’s clear that the public is deeply concerned about the governor’s proposal and wants the process to be open, transparent, and democratic.”
Gov. Jay Inslee and some state officials are considering a program to reduce greenhouse gas – or, as sometimes called, carbon – emissions by requiring the use of lower-carbon transportation fuels, necessitating an increase in the per-gallon cost of gasoline and diesel.
“The data show that environmental and economic issues go hand in hand,” said Connor. “Before Washington families and small businesses are forced to pay increased gas prices, they want to be sure the environmental impact is going to be worth the pain at the pump.” 
According to the surveys, 73 percent of likely voters were ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ familiar with the issue of greenhouse gas emissions, as were 69 percent of small-business owners. Increasing fuel efficiency standards in vehicles, increasing development of alternative fuels, and increasing public transportation and carpooling were the top three choices of both groups to reduce carbon emissions.
Other key findings include:
  • 96 percent of all respondents want an open and transparent process. Only 10 percent of voters and 5 percent of small-business owners believe the governor should implement his program through executive action.
  • In contrast, 69 percent of small businesses and 67 percent of voters believe Governor Inslee’s proposal should be voted on via a state ballot measure, while 25 percent of small businesses and 20 percent of voters believe the Legislature should vote on the proposal.
  • Most believe no action should be taken until the environmental and economic impacts of a similar proposal in California, slated to go into effect in January, are known. 78 percent of small business owners and 66 percent of voters believe a wait-and-see approach is best.
  • More than half of likely voters (53 percent) and 61 percent of small-business owners said no greenhouse gas initiative should be considered if it will increase the price of gasoline and diesel fuels, and around 70 percent of both groups said no initiative should be considered if alternative ways to lower emissions already exist.
  • 62 percent of voters and 74 percent of small businesses believe Governor Inslee’s proposal should not be considered unless the increases in fuel prices provide clearly defined environmental benefits for Washington State residents.
“The value of these two polls is in providing the first real roadmap on a very complex issue, which if done poorly could do more harm than good,” said Connor. “We now know from the increasing number of Obamacare architects coming forward to admit its flaws and regret not taking more time to do it right the importance of designing a law well.”
The polls, announced today by teleconference, were commissioned by NFIB and conducted by GMA Research Corporation in Bellevue, Washington. The combined results of the polls can be read here.
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For more than 70 years, the National Federation of Independent Business has been the Voice of Small Business, taking the message from Main Street to the halls of Congress and all 50 state legislatures. NFIB annually surveys its members on state and federal issues vital to their survival as America’s economic engine and biggest creator of jobs. NFIB’s educational mission is to remind policymakers that small businesses are not smaller versions of bigger businesses; they have very different challenges and priorities.
NFIB/Washington
711 Capitol Way South, Suite 505
Olympia, WA  98501
Twitter: @NFIB_WA 

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