- Washington state Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon (D) has proposed a carbon tax beginning at $15/metric ton, similar to the one rejected by voters in November.
- Proceeds from the tax would go towards clean energy and water projects, and support for communities most directly impacted by climate change, an important distinction from the previous proposal.
- According to The Seattle Times, the bill would add about $0.15 to the cost of a gallon of gasoline and has netted support from environmental and social justice groups.
A new carbon tax proposal appears similar to a measure rejected by voters last year, but while the per metric ton cost may be the same, where the tax revenue will go is not.
According to a description of the bill posted by Washington State Democrats, House Bill 1646 "would implement a performance-based carbon tax of $15 per ton, and reinvest the proceeds into clean energy and clean water projects, healthy forests, and support for workers, families, businesses and communities most directly impacted by climate change but least able to switch to low-carbon options."
“This bill positions us as a national leader in the fight to reduce pollution and build a clean energy economy," Fitzgibbon said in a statement.
The ballot measure defeated in November was intended to be revenue-neutral, and failed to garner much support from social activists who wanted to see revenues go towards new clean energy programs. The Times reports that if the measure fails in in state's legislature, activists intend to bring it forward as a ballot measure.
“We’re now living in an age of climate consequences, underscoring the need for meaningful and effective leadership to get us around the roadblocks of inaction,” said Vlad Gutman-Britten, Washington State director of Climate Solutions and a supporter of the proposal in a statement. He said the bill is the "right tool" to help the state move towards a cleaner energy economy.