Democrats in the state House are expected to release their 2015-17 state budget tomorrow. Executive action is scheduled for this Saturday. Last week, Shift took a look back on Jay Inslee’s budget proposal and what Democrat lawmakers have hinted they will include in their budget. The inclusion of Inslee’s cap-and-tax scheme—though it drew criticism from some Democrats—is a possibility.
In light of House Democrats’ up-coming budget proposal, here’s a wrap-up of what news outlets across the have had to say on Inslee’s cap-and-tax scheme.
“While we agree education and transportation improvements are responsibilities this state’s leadership must find funding solutions for, cap-and-trade is not the answer. If the cap-and-trade were successful, the revenues would decrease and schools and transportation would be left underfunded, again. At best, if successful, the plan is a stopgap.”
“To pay for added spending, Inslee’s budget adds an eye-popping $5 billion over the next two years. It includes an audacious new cap-and-trade system on carbon emissions that would draw nearly $1 billion a year from about 130 entities, many of them in the energy sector, and would spend a big chunk of it on education…
“But linking revenue from a new cap-and-trade regime to education funding is risky. If it falls apart, or is delayed, education investments would be threatened.
”It is also unclear what impact his cap-and-trade plan would have on a still-recovering state economy, one that is humming for citizens who live and work within sight of the Space Needle, but sputtering elsewhere.”
“Things like cap-and-trade schemes, a carbon tax and a low-carbon fuel standard — which are expected to come up for debate in the next legislative session if not sooner — might be appropriate to consider in states that are lagging behind in environmental protection…
“It’s good to be a leader on environmental issues. It’s better to be a leader on environmental issues and the job market.
“The latest Greenbook, which is a follow-up to the original 2011 Greenbook, not only shows that Washington is green relative to the rest of the world, but it’s also improving.
“In the 2011 report, Washington state contributed 0.26 percent of the world’s carbon emissions. In the latest Greenbook, the figure dropped to just 0.21 percent.”
As Shift reported, GOP state Sen. Doug Ericksen proposed an energy bill (Senate Bill 5735) that—in stark contrast to Inslee’s cap-and-tax scheme—would work to responsibly reduce Washington State’s carbon emissions. The state Senate passed SB 5735 on a mostly party-line vote (26-23) earlier this month. The bill aims to encourage carbon emission reductions, while creating jobs and avoiding new taxes by giving large electric utilities an “alternative way to comply with a state law requiring them to get more energy from renewable sources.”
The Columbian editorial board chastised the political heat (radiating from Democrat lawmakers) that Ericksen’s bill generated. It wrote,
“Whether or not a vast majority of climate scientists are correct when they say human activity has resulted in such change, the reality is that steps can be taken to reduce our impact on the environment. The reality is that positive measures can be embraced simply because there is no harm in embracing them. Sometimes when it comes to the environment, lawmakers and citizens should simply do the right thing. And that is the truth that lies beneath the surface of this debate.”
Ericksen wrapped-up the differences between his proposal and Inslee’s cap-and-tax scheme when he said of his bill, “We don’t need to jack up the cost of electricity and fuel and hope the pain of these energy taxes will force our low-income citizens to use less. We have a better way.”