Jay Inslee’s Carbon Emissions Reduction Taskforce (CERT) released its final recommendations for a future cap-and-tax and/or carbon tax plan in Washington State today. Our green governor loves to point out that a concrete policy proposal for his extreme environmental agenda has yet to be issued, and thanks to CERT’s lack of a specific path for increasing energy taxes in Washington State, Inslee can go on using the excuse for why he won’t answer questions concerning the high costs of his misguided plans for the foreseeable future.
CERT’s final report places the future of a cap-and-tax and/or carbon tax plan squarely in Inslee’s court. How? The taskforce does not actually make any concrete recommendations on either of the tax-raising plans. Rather, CERT issues four findings—or comments—on cap-and-tax and/or carbon tax which include,
CERT Finding 1: Emissions-based or price-based market mechanisms add unique features to an overall carbon emissions reduction policy framework.
CERT Finding 2: Thoughtful and informed policy design, drawing on the lessons learned from other jurisdictions, CERT member perspectives, and additional analysis (see Finding 4), will be required to achieve either an emissions-based or price-based policy approach that is workable for the State of Washington.
CERT Finding 3: Reaching the State’s statutory carbon emissions limits will require a harmonized, comprehensive policy approach.
CERT Finding 4: Certain important questions remain unanswered and further analysis will be important to provide the foundation for a well informed and well-functioning policy approach.
Perhaps the biggest take-away from CERT’s final report is the obvious preference of a revenue neutral approach – that taxes paid for emitting carbon should focus on dealing with that policy. That’s a direct contradiction of Inslee’s past—and current—declarations that tax revenue from his extreme green agenda could be used to pay for the Washington State Supreme Court’s McClearly decision all while decreasing our state’s 3/10th of 1% contribution to world carbon emissions. Of course, if the past is any indication, any added tax associated with Inslee’s two-birds-with-one-stone scheme would go partly to benefit our green governor’s special interests campaign donors.
CERT also omits any mention of a Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) in its final report—though one might think that a “a harmonized, comprehensive policy approach” would touch on Inslee’s preferred gas tax scheme. So, given Inslee’s declared interest (dare we say obsession) with the possibility of a fuel mandate, it is interesting to note that such an LCFS scheme was not on the task force’s radar. But, that’s perhaps because any discussion of Inslee’s fuel mandate plan would evidently result in revelations that—according to his own experts—our green governor wants to impose a fuel mandate that could result in a $1-plus gas tax increase.
Now that the report is in, Inslee is now calling for a “year of action,” now that his hand-picked task force has failed to make a recommendation for what that action should be.
Hold on to your wallets.