December 20, 2017

Washington State 2018 Budget Includes Carbon Tax To Balance The Books


Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) proposed a supplemental state budget that creates a new carbon tax to replenish the state’s Rainy Day Fund after spending reserves on public education, a little more than a year after Washington voters rejected a carbon tax. 

As part of a 2018 supplemental budget proposal announced Thursday, Inslee asked the Legislature to dip into the reserves to hasten a state investment in salaries for teachers and other public-school employees. To backfill the withdrawal, Inslee, a Democrat, said he’ll once again propose a tax on carbon pollution, with details to come next month.

Inslee proposed diverting $1.5 billion in carbon tax revenue to the Rainy Day Fund before spending on “a transition to clean energy.”

Under the governor’s proposal, the first $1.5 billion in carbon tax revenues would be dedicated to replacing the dollars taken from state reserves to pay for McCleary. Inslee would use future carbon revenues to help the state make a transition to clean energy.

Initiative 732, which sought to tax fossil fuels, was defeated in November 2016 when only 42 percent of Washington voters supported the tax.