Third time will not be the charm for a carbon tax in Washington state

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Posted by Brooke Starr on Tuesday, March 5th, 2019, 4:30 PM PERMALINK

Last week, Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee (D) announced his candidacy for president. Inslee has joined several other Democrats candidates in embracing the radical Green New Deal. But Inslee has yet to see any of the climate policies that he has supported over the years cross the finish line in his own state.

Twice now, Washington voters have overwhelmingly rejected carbon taxes at the ballot box. First in 2016, with 59.25 percent of taxpayers voting no, and second in 2018 with 56.56 percent voting no.

Inslee is clearly out of touch when it comes to his constituents’ priorities. According to a Crosscut/Ellway poll from January 2019, the environment is not even in Washingtonians top six legislative issue areas – social services, economy, education, taxes, health care, and transportation all outrank environmental issues for voters in the Evergreen State.

Yet once again Inslee and some Washington lawmakers are refusing to listen to their constituents and are working to impose a carbon tax legislatively. Senate Bill 5971 would result in a roughly $17.1 billion tax hike, primarily by imposing the nation’s first carbon tax -- which would raise extract about $7.9 billion from residents over the next 10 years -- and increase the motor and special fuel excise tax by six cents per gallon.

Even bill sponsor Senator Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens, said his bill, also known as the “Carbon Pollution Fee,” would result in the hardworking people of Washington being burdened with the most expensive fuel taxes in the nation. The proposed carbon “fee” would add an additional 15-cent per gallon tax on fuel, plus the proposed six cents-per-gallon fuel tax increase for a total tax hike of 21 cents per gallon.

Washington’s current gas tax is already third highest in the nation:

Gas Tax

(cents/gallon)

             

                          Source: https://taxfoundation.org/state-gas-tax-rates-july-2018/

In addition to being forced to fork over more of their hard-earned income at the pump, the hardworking people of Washington would also have to spend more on their monthly utility bills. No wonder carbon taxes have been rejected in numerous blue states such as Maine, and other countries including Canada and France.

Adding insult to injury, SB 5971 also has the potential to raise other taxes and fees, including those on property development and commercial, electric, and private vehicles, as well as taxes on rental cars, bicycles, and auto parts.

Carbon taxes in Washington have already failed twice at the ballot by large margins, so the fact that Inslee is not only pushing another carbon tax bill, but also running as the “climate change” presidential candidate is laughable. He is clearly out of touch with voters in his home state which will definitely not translate well to a nationwide vote.

Photo Credit: Thomas Sorenes

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