The bill would add about 15 cents to the cost of a gallon of gasoline, and would raise money for investment in clean energy. It is expected to face tough going in the Legislature.
Democratic state Rep. Joe Fitzgibbonhas introduced a carbon-tax bill that would raise gas prices as a way to invest in clean energy, clean water and forests.
House Bill 1646 would impose a tax of $15 per metric ton on carbon emissions, adding an estimated 15 cents to the cost of a gallon of gas. The bill, introduced Wednesday, is backed by an alliance of state labor, environmental and social-justice groups.
So long as the state is on track to meet targets for reducing carbon emissions, the tax would rise at the rate of inflation. If not, the tax would climb higher, by 7 percent a year, plus the inflation rate, according to the bill.
“I look forward to hearing from all interested parties on improving this proposal further and getting it all the way through the Legislature,” Fitzgibbon, of Burien, said in a written statement.
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The bill is part of a broader push by climate-change activists to gain changes at the state and local government levels. For the next four years, federal actions to reduce carbon emissions are expected to stall under the Trump administration.
The bill is expected to face tough going in the Legislature.
Previously, Gov. Jay Inslee failed to gain passage of a bill that sought to cap greenhouse-gas emissions and required refiners and others to pay “pollution allowances.
A separate carbon-tax initiative, which attempted to be revenue neutral by cutting other taxes, was defeated in the November election. The measure had trouble marshaling consensus among progressives and environmentalists. State budget analysts projected that the measure would bring a short-term cut to Washington’s general fund over six fiscal years. Backers disputed the analysis.
If this new bill fails in the Legislature, the alliance that backs the measure may try to put it on ballot next year.