Last month, Jay Inslee’s proposed a transportation plan that centers on a cap-and-tax scheme. As Shift reported, under Inslee’s plan, carbon-emitting businesses and fuel distributers who do not met our green governor’s emissions threshold must purchase a permit for every metric ton of greenhouse gas emitted per year. The permits would be sold at auction, with the Department of Ecology deciding who needs to buy a permit—the University of Washington, Washington State University, US Army Joint Base Lewis‐McChord and Naval Base Kitsap all made Ecology’s list of 130 polluters.
Inslee’s extreme environmentalist supporters received his proposal enthusiasm, boasting that it was a “bold new approach” that would create the most “progressive carbon-pollution regulation system anywhere in the world.” Others from the Left were less enthusiastic. Democrat State Rep. Ross Hunter, chair of the House Appropriations Committee, responded to Inslee’s announcement with caution. He told the Seattle Times that he “likes the idea,” but that he will wait to see Inslee’s full budget proposal—set to be released.
Yesterday, Democrat state Rep. Judy Clibborn—chair of the House Transportation Committee—took the criticism a step further. Clibborn called Inslee’s cap-and-tax scheme a “non-starter.” She went on to express concern that Inslee’s plan would hurt lawmakers’ ability to pass a transportation bill—something Republicans and Democrats have been working to create for two years. Clibborn said,
“It’s exciting to have new ideas. But it is so unknown. In the fast moving pace of a session, it’s very late to come forward with something of this magnitude.”
Our green governor is no stranger to the role of sabotaging transportation packages. Last year, it appeared at though Inslee was doing his best to obstruct a transportation bill by playing extreme partisan politics and even violating a confidentiality agreement between his office and transportation negotiators from the Legislature. Moving forward, the legislators would be wise to leave Inslee out of transportation talks.