January 15, 2018
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State of the State: Inslee calls for carbon tax, speed-up of school funding

During his State of the State address last week, Gov. Jay Inslee laid out his vision for lawmakers during the current 60-day "short" session of the Legislature.

Inslee called for a carbon tax designed, he said, to fight climate change. He said lawmakers should take nearly $1 billion from the state’s reserves -- or rainy-day fund -- to speed up education funding a year earlier than lawmakers had laid out in last year's two-year budget. That would meet a ruling by the state Supreme Court, which said last fall that the Legislature's funding plan meets its McCleary ruling, but that it was a year later in compliance than the court wanted to see. Inslee said his carbon tax would backfill the rainy-day fund. However, under his plan, the carbon tax would not be collected until July 2019.

“It is crucial that we implement the McCleary plan now, because a child is only a third grader once and you don’t get that year back,” Inslee said, referring to the name of the court ruling on the need to improve public schools.

The Walla Walla Union-Bulletin urged caution when it comes to speeding up the pace on educational changes, saying it could have unintended consequences and costs.

Inslee also called on legislators to pass a $4.4 billion capital budget as their "first order of business." He also asked legislators to pass a Voting Rights Act, guarantee contraceptive rights, protect the undocumented childhood immigrants known as "Dreamers," pass gun-control laws, end the death penalty, provide affordable housing, pass net neutrality legislation at the state level, and other topics.

One item that was not included in his speech: any mention of a resolution to the Hirst issue, which has put a stop to rural well drilling and development across the state.

The Spokesman-Review and MyNorthwest.com have more on Inslee's speech.

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Fix Hirst, Support Manufacturers

Support rural Washington

By The Wenatchee World Editorial Board

The Puget Sound region's economy is booming. But across the state, the post-recession economic recovery has been uneven. Much of rural Washington is still struggling, with higher rates of unemployment and comparatively modest economic gains.

Fixing Hirst and delivering tax relief to manufacturers will help expand our state's prosperity to rural counties.

Read the full editorial in The Wenatchee World
Costly and Unnecessary

No sense in carbon tax

By The (Longview) Daily News Editorial Board

Gov. Inslee is urging legislators to pass a $20 per ton carbon tax during the current legislative session. We urge you to call your local legislators and tell them to vote "no" on carbon tax legislation.

If passed, money raised from a carbon tax reportedly would fund schools; provide incentives for renewable energy, such as solar energy; be applied to research for new clean technologies; manage storm water runoff; help prevent forest fires; and more.

While all of these issues are worthwhile, the effects of a carbon tax on citizens and businesses far outweighs the benefits, which is why we don't support the tax.

The governor's staff indicated a carbon tax likely will increase power rates 4 percent to 5 percent for electricity, 9 percent to 11 percent for natural gas and 6 percent to 9 percent for gasoline.

If a carbon tax law is passed, utilities such as the Cowlitz PUD, will be negatively impacted and we believe the power rate increases would be pushed much higher than the governor's staff estimates. Citizens and businesses can't afford those types of increases...

Read the full editorial in The Daily News
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