This week Governor Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) proposed a substantial carbon tax on Washington families and businesses. This regressive tax of $20 per metric ton of carbon emissions, amounting to a $3.3 billion tax increase over just the first four years of its implementation, would increase the prices of everything from gasoline to electricity on hard-working Washingtonians. If successful, Washington would be the only state in the nation to impose a carbon tax.

Even Inslee’s staff is willing to admit this tax hike will raise the price of gas by up to 9%, electricity by 4%-5%, and natural gas by 10%, with low and middle income earners bearing the brunt of these costs. Energy costs, such as home utilities, can regularly compose about 10% or more of a lower income household budget, compared to only 1%-5% for middle to upper income households.

Even worse, the tax is set to automatically increase by at least 3.5% annually, representing a never ending series of tax hikes, and exempts powerful special interest groups from the tax, including shielding aircraft and agriculture fuels from taxation.

This proposal from Governor Inslee is a sharp contrast from candidate Inslee, who pledged at least eight different times during his gubernatorial campaign that he would not raise taxes. He would not put that commitment in writing, however.

Inslee revealed the true motivation and purpose of this middle class tax hike when he explained the tax money would fund massive giveaways to expensive “green energy” projects and fill gaps in the state budget. Inslee opposed a similar 2016 tax proposal that was revenue neutral, Initiative 732. Not surprisingly, Washington voters overwhelmingly rejected Initiative 732, with close to 60% of voters opposed.

ATR stands with Washington taxpayers and strongly opposes Inslee’s attempt to raise energy costs and confiscate the hard earned money of the people of Washington to fund handouts to special interests and prop up runaway government spending.