March 5, 2018
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Carbon tax bill does not advance through Senate; citizen initiative filed Friday



An "ambitious" effort to make Washington the first state in the nation with a carbon tax fell short of the votes needed to pass it out of the closely divided state Senate, its prime sponsor said last week.

Sen. Reuven Carlyle said, "I think we'll see some public action... and very real possibility of legislative action in 2019."

Inslee said supporters fell one or two votes short in the Senate. It also needed to pass the House, which is also closely divided.

Senate Bill 6023 would have imposed a new tax of $12 per metric ton of carbon emissions on the sale or use of fossil fuels such as gasoline and natural gas. That’s lower than the $20 per ton originally proposed by Inslee, The Seattle Times reports. After starting in 2019, the tax would have ramped up to $30 a ton by about 2030.

A day after that news, a coalition of environmental, labor, tribal and other groups on Friday released a draft initiative that would also put a tax on carbon emissions.

Under the initiative, a carbon tax would be implemented at $15 per ton in 2020 that would increase $2 plus inflation every year beginning in 2021 and would create a new form of governance outside of the Legislature to spend the funds. The taxes raised would be distributed through a new Public Oversight Board with rule-making authority that is housed within the governor’s office. The tax dollars would be dispersed at: 70 percent for clean air/energy projects, 25 percent on water and healthy forest projects and 5 percent spent on “healthy communities.”

With the initiative likely to come before voters, a Seattle Times podcast with Todd Myers of the Washington Policy Center asks a timely question: "Is the carbon tax push in Washington about saving the planet or growing government?"

For more information on climate and environmental policies, contact AWB Government Affairs Director Mary Catherine McAleer at 360.943.1600.



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A Lifetime of Learning


Workforce development begins young, continues over lifetime

By AWB President Kris Johnson

We all want our kids to grow up in a state with good-paying job prospects and the training to match them.

Today, there is a laser focus by our association's membership and other groups about the need to fill the workforce pipeline with skilled, job-ready workers. There simply aren't enough workers to fill the high-tech, high-wage jobs available in our state and nation.

We're working to address that problem by advocating for robust career and technical programming in our middle and high schools, training and certificate programs for high-demand jobs at our state's community and technical colleges.

We'll be talking about those very issues at the second-annual AWB Workforce Summit on March 21 in Bellevue.

Read the full column in The Wenatchee Business World
Dealing with Debt

State needs to begin paying down its bond debt

By The Everett Herald Editorial Board

Duane Davidson, now in his second year of office, hasn't been one to pursue many policy issues with lawmakers, unlike his predecessor who outlined an ambitious tax reform proposal that earned little interest. But Davidson has taken a stand to defend against raids of the "rainy day" fund and asked lawmakers to consider using some of the additional revenue to pay down the state's bond debt, add to its "rainy day" reserves or pay more toward its unfunded pension obligations. Their choice.

"I think that money would be better spent paying down any debt, pick your debt," Davidson said.

And there's significant debt to pay down.

The state's Debt Affordability Study for 2018, released by Davidson's office, reports that the state's debt portfolio has over the course of the last 20 years grown from $6.8 billion to more than $19 billion and totals $21 billion when financing contracts are included....

Read the full editorial in The Herald
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