OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee Monday rolled out his latest plans to fight climate change, including an idea to spend $100 million annually to fund rebates for people buying electric vehicles.

The latest measures are part of the governor’s proposed supplemental budget package, which is being unveiled this week. Washington state lawmakers will return for the regularly scheduled legislative session in January.

In a news conference Monday, Inslee used a car analogy to demonstrate how much Washington needs to cut carbon emissions in the coming years to hit its own targets that are set in law.

“The amount of carbon emissions that we will have to reduce to meet that legally binding commitment is equivalent to the emissions of taking 1.3 million vehicles off the road,” said the governor. “We have some real work to do starting today.”

If approved by the Legislature, the new vehicle rebates would hand buyers of new zero-emissions vehicles $7,500 for models that have a list price of up to $80,000 for vans and $55,000 for sedans.

Residents could claim a $5,000 rebate to buy used zero-emissions vehicles, or $1,000 for the purchase of zero-emission motorcycle or electric bike. Those rebates would be available for people who earn less than $250,000 annually, or for a household that files earnings of less than $500,000 per year.


The governor also proposed, among other things, spending $100 million in grants for institutions to install solar energy and related storage and technology. If adopted, those grants would be available for state agencies, school districts, tribal and local governments, housing authorities, retail electric utilities, and nonprofit organizations.

And Inslee pitched a proposal to wean buildings off natural gas, like for heating. He proposed that starting in 2034, all new construction would use electric methods, and also be wired for solar panels and electric vehicle charging.

The new measures come after the governor and Democratic state legislators have passed big-ticket legislation in recent years to fight climate change — including this year’s carbon-cap-and-invest program and a clean fuels standard.

Democrats hold sizable majorities in the state House and Senate, but it remains to be seen whether they will take up Inslee’s agenda.

Lawmakers are set to hold a 60-day session, which is likely to include making tweaks to policing laws and Washington’s new long-term care program.


At the same time, with the state’s tax collections booming, lawmakers will draft a supplemental budget that makes changes to the two-year budget that funds schools, parks, prisons and other services.

In a statement, Rep. Mary Dye, R-Pomeroy, blasted Inslee’s new climate proposals, saying they won’t help with the immediate crises — such as wildfires and drought — that governor often invokes when discussing climate change.

“The governor’s proposal to decarbonize buildings, to get rid of the natural gas industry and retrain workers whose jobs would be eliminated from his policies, would do nothing to reduce deadly, destructive wildfires and the smoke they emit,” Dye said in prepared remarks. “The governor’s proposal to spend millions of dollars in rebates for electric vehicle purchases would do nothing to prevent flooding or address drought that threatens our farmers.”

Meanwhile, Sen. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle, on Monday proposed a surcharge on large banks to raise between $80 and $100 million annually for resiliency projects to address the impacts of floods, wildfires, ocean acidification and other manifestations of the changing climate.

In a statement, Carlyle described the bill as “simply asking those funding climate change to pay a modest fee toward the cost that Washington taxpayers are currently spending on climate resiliency.”

That fee would be levied as a Business & Occupation tax surcharge, and would be cut or eliminated by 2050 if those banks met their stated goals of achieving net-zero carbon emissions for their investments.

“One of the most profound lessons from the UN Climate Summit conference was that global banks have financed almost three times more fossil fuel than clean energy projects since the Paris Agreement in 2016,” Carlyle said in a statement. “At the same time, these same banks have made commitments to design net zero portfolio investments by 2050.”

Carlyle is also preparing to introduce a bill to reimburse residents up to $200 to switch from gas-powered lawn-care equipment to zero-emission, all-electric models.