Inslee plans carbon tax

Gov. Jay Inslee began working on his latest carbon tax plan to regulate emissions across Washington State. According to the Bellevue Reporter, emissions generated by transportation, aside from jet fuel, and power plants would be taxed at a rate of $20 per ton beginning on July 1, 2019. The plan from there is to annually increase by approximately three percent, adjusting for inflation each year, resulting in taking in roughly 3.3 billion dollars for the state over the tax’s first four years.
The tax targets emissions-creating businesses with measures to increase their prices, in the hope that the market will shift to cleaner alternatives. Boeing and other airline companies which use jet fuel would be exempt from the tax as to not put Washington at a disadvantage in the aviation field and maintain its current connections to airplane manufacturing.
Based on a British Columbia tax plan which was put in place in 2008, the plan could have consumers see their electricity prices increase between four to five percent, gasoline prices increase by five to six percent and natural gas prices go up by nine to 11 percent. Currently the British Columbia tax is at 30 Canadian dollars per ton, or $24.22.
Republican Senate representatives are fighting hard against the new taxes, claiming that the new regulations are unnecessary revenue sources, anti-business and Washington industry, and fails to lower carbon output by humans by a considerable amount to warrant a massive tax. House Republicans are also questioning the intentions of the bill. House Minority Leader Dan Kristiansen, a Republican representatitve of Snohomish, asked if the tax was an “issue about the carbon or about the money?” He continued, “If it’s about the money then I don’t think that it’s appropriate.”
Support from Senate Democrat representatives has been lower than analysts expected. Senate Majority Leader Sharon Nelson questioned whether or not the Democrats could pass the bill within the current short 60-day session.
In addition to touching on mental health services and the banning of bump stocks for firearms, Inslee addressed the climate change issues regarding Washington state on Jan. 9 during his State of the State Address given at the Capitol. “We have allowed the unfettered release of carbon pollution into our air. That burden will be carried by our children, our economy, our security, and our quality of life.” Further on in his statement, he continued, “On [pollution and climate change], there is no geographic divide. The Eastern Washington farmer whose irrigation supply is threatened by low snowpack faces the same crisis as the Western Washington shellfish grower whose baby oysters are threatened by ocean acidification.”
Becky Kelley, president of the Washington Environmental Council, stated in anticipation of the tax bill failing to pass the house, “We are preparing a ballot measure so that, if the Legislature fails to do its job, we are ready to take it to the people and that’s because it’s time for action.”