The Marysville Tulalip Chamber of Commerce hosted local politicians and representatives for I-1631 at a recent candidates forum on Sept. 28.
The races for the two seats will be on the Nov. 6 ballot.
38th District Senate Seat
The 38th District includes all of Tulalip, much of Marysville and north Everett.
Republican Savio Pham and incumbent Democrat John McCoy are running for the state senate seat.
McCoy is a retired Air Force veteran and a member of the Tulalip Tribes.
He said that affordable housing and transportation are two of the biggest economic issues affecting the county.
“We need to take a look at what can we do to work with developers in creating affordable housing,” he said.
“We have to work on how we move traffic through the region, because we can’t build any more roads, there’s no more land,” he said.
Pham is a Vietnamese immigrant who has worked in business data services.
If elected he hopes to help small businesses.
“We need to get rid of complicated regulations and requirements,” said Pham, “so business can thrive.”
Among his ideas are making “it easier for start-ups to hire their first five employees,” or encouraging businesses to find qualified employees locally rather than overseas.
He said that those goals can be accomplished with tax credits and other incentives.
44th District House Pos. 2 Seat
The 44th District includes southeast Marysville along with Lake Stevens, Snohomish and Mill Creek.
The 44th District Pos. 2 seat in the House of Representatives is between Jared Mead and incumbent Republican Mark Harmsworth.
Harmsworth is a former Mill Creek City Council member.
His goal is to support local businesses, he said.
“We’ve got a lot of economic development in our county, but we have to get the burden off of our small and medium sized businesses,” said Harmsworth.
Proposals like a carbon tax or a capital gains tax will harm businesses, he said.
“We need to find more ways of using the money we’ve got right now,” he said.
Current Mill Creek City Council member Jared Mead is also running for the seat.
“I’ve seen the growth that is impacting our county in a multitude of ways, and that’s why I’m running for office, to manage that growth,” he said.
Mead said families have been burdened with increasing taxes, especially because of education changes.
“Right now it’s based on a singular property tax and there are other ways to raise more progressive, sustainable revenue,” he said.
I-1631 is a statewide initiative that would create a carbon fee meant to reduce pollution.
If enacted the funds raised would go toward projects meant to increase clean energy production and manage climate events like floods.
Randy Pepple, spokesperson for the “No on I-631” campaign, said that the carbon fee is regressive, in that it affects lower income families more.
“This raises taxes for those that can afford it the least in electricity, gas and heating, which we know hits those with low income harder,” he said.
Pepple said estimates say it will cost families $200 to $300 in the first year, with potentially more in later years if emissions aren’t reduced.
Julia Sanders, who represented the “Yes on I-1631” campaign, said that similar programs have been successful.
“Ten states in the U.S. already have price-and-invest policies like this and, despite what opponents say, they don’t break the economy,” she said.
“They have been able to exceed their expectations and reduce emissions more than expected,” she said.
She noted there is language which reduces the burden on low-income families in the initiative as well.