Inslee Calls for Carbon Tax to Fight Climate Change State Residents Would Pay More at Gas Pump and for Electricity, Natural Gas

By Camden, Jim | The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, WA), January 10, 2018 | Go to article overview

Inslee Calls for Carbon Tax to Fight Climate Change State Residents Would Pay More at Gas Pump and for Electricity, Natural Gas


Camden, Jim, The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, WA)


OLYMPIA - Washington residents would pay more at the gasoline pump and more on their utility bills as the state tries to reduce its carbon pollution under a proposal unveiled Tuesday by Gov. Jay Inslee.

A tax starting at $20 per ton of carbon emissions, with adjustments for inflation, would be put in place July 1, 2019, and generate an estimated $1.5 billion every two years to pay for programs that would reduce the pollution, which experts say is a major factor in climate change.

Inslee said Washington would join California, British Columbia and other parts of Canada, along with European countries, in having a detailed plan to reduce carbon pollution.

"We don't have to invent the rocket ship here," Inslee told reporters in the afternoon after meeting with business, utility and environmental leaders, including Dennis Vermillion, president of Avista. "This is not the first time this has been done."

Avista later released a statement saying it "welcomes the opportunity to work with the governor and the Legislature on an approach that supports our customers' needs, creates technological advances and considers the economic impact, even beyond the state's borders, with the goal to improve the environment."

Republican leaders were sharply critical of the proposal after Inslee talked about it in his State of the State address earlier in the day. Senate Minority Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, said Inslee calling for a new tax in his annual address was predictable.

House Minority Leader Dan Kristiansen, R-Snohomish, described it as "extremely tax-heavy and policy-short." Republicans would be proposing legislation that stressed policies to reduce carbon pollution without a major tax increase, he said.

The taxes would hit hardest on the middle class and lower-income residents who would see increases for fuel, utilities and many consumer items, Kristiansen said. …

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