The week before Christmas, Jay Inslee announced that he would punish polluters by making them pay. Our green governor proposed a cap-and-tax scheme that he promised would pay for transportation improvements. He called his scheme a “pretty elegant solution for the state of Washington.”
And, trying desperately to make his tax-raising scheme acceptable to voters, Inslee relied on the tried-and-true Democrat theme that “it’s for the children.” Resorting to extreme hyperbole, Inslee said about his tax plan, “It’s not our children’s lungs that should be burned. It should be polluters.”
How does Inslee propose to “burn” polluters? Our green governor proposes funding his $12 billion plan with a cap-and-tax program, focused on taxing the top 130 “industrial polluters” in the state, as identified by the bureaucrats in the state’s Department of Ecology. As a part of the most aggressive cap-and-tax plan ever proposed anywhere in the world, Inslee’s 130 polluters must purchase carbon emissions permits at state-run auctions.
That, of course, would inevitably mean that the tax would be passed down to consumers of gasoline and other fuels like home heating oil and natural gas, and an increase in the cost-of-living as it becomes more expensive to move goods (like food) around the state. The cost increase that his scheme would impose on gas, claims Inslee, would be limited to an additional 12 cents per gallon. State budget officials, who project a much higher cost, do not share his rose-colored glasses.
So, who are the big bad polluters who must be punished according to Inslee? The 130 polluters on Ecology’s most recent list include the University of Washington and Washington State University. According to Inslee, the leading research universities in the state—not to mention UW’s world recognized medical research programs — deserve to be punished. Indeed, industries that have led Washington State to become a world leader in energy, trade, technology and innovation must be, using Inslee’s word, “burned.”
Additional polluters who Inslee believes must be punished include US Army Joint Base Lewis‐McChord and Naval Base Kitsap. Interestingly enough, though both military bases appeared on the Department of Ecology’s original list of 130 polluters issued the day that Inslee announced his tax-raising plans, they have since been removed from the list.
We can only imagine that Inslee and the bureaucrats at Ecology figured out that demeaning our service men and women by calling them big polluters, and insinuating that American military bases should be “burned” would not play well with the general public. Though the bases have been removed from the list, it does not mean Inslee will not pursue their punishment. The state bureaucrats charged with administering Inslee’s extreme scheme admit in their list that they haven’t necessarily identified all the businesses and facilities they intend to punish.
The Association of Washington Businesses’ 2014 Competitiveness Greenbook ranks our state 6th in the nation for clean technology and 7th in green goods and services jobs. Additionally, over the past two decades, Washington decreased its share of global CO2 emissions to a miniscule 1/10 of 1 percent—the decline is ongoing. Yet, according to Inslee, the very industries that made it all possible most be punished and “burned.”
You can check to see if your place of work made Inslee’s list of big-bad polluters here.