March 18, 2019
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State Supreme Court to consider Gov. Inslee's clean air rule

On Tuesday, the state Supreme Court will consider whether Gov. Jay Inslee went too far by imposing regulations to reduce carbon through executive action in 2015.

A lower court judge had struck down the governor's Clean Air Rule in December 2017, saying the gubernatorial decree went too far. This week, the high court will consider both the content of the rule and the sweep of Inslee's executive authority, The Herald of Everett reports.

The governor's rule sets emission standards for stationary sources of pollutants (but not motor vehicles, a major emissions source in Washington state), as well as purveyors of fossil fuels.

"It targeted the state’s largest emitters such as natural gas distributors, petroleum product producers and importers, power plants, metal manufacturers and landfill operators," The Herald's Jerry Cornfield writes. "Large manufacturing operations, such as the Boeing Co. plant in Everett, also made the list of those expected to be affected at some point."

AWB was one of those who challenged the governor's rulemaking authority, saying it was executive overreach: “As Ecology conceded in an internal memorandum: ‘Alternatives were not considered because the Department of Ecology was directed by Governor Inslee to develop and adopt a rule.’”

The Democratic majority in the Legislature is considering a suite of laws, including a low-carbon fuel standard and a 100-percent clean energy rule, that aim to reduce carbon emissions on the same scale as that would have been required under the governor's 2015 Clean Air Rule. However, Inslee still wants the court to uphold his rule, The Herald reports.

“I filed an executive order that I believe is totally within my executive authority to do,” Inslee said at a recent University of Washington forum. “There’s some dispute about that and the Supreme Court is going to decide. I hope they decide it in favor of all of our grandchildren.”

For more on this court case, contact AWB General Counsel Bob Battles. For more information on carbon and clean air issues, contact Peter Godlewski, AWB government affairs director for environmental policy.

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Competitiveness Matters

State won 'economic lottery;' it doesn't need new taxes

By Kris Johnson and Steve Mullin

Imagine winning the lottery tomorrow. You'd have $10 million to spend on whatever you wanted in an instant.

Of course, the prudent thing would be to get a financial adviser and plan for the future. Ensure you have a strong foundation and adequate savings, then decide what you can splurge on. This scenario is not unlike the position our state finds itself in after years of economic recovery and expansion.

Economic and tax revenue growth in Washington state has been extraordinary over the last decade.

So much so that state and local tax growth in Washington was the highest in the nation from 2015 to 2016. The state expects tax collections will top $50 billion for the first time during the next two-year budget cycle. That's $4 billion more than the last cycle and nearly $11 billion more than it had in 2015-17.

Washington has leveraged this growth to invest in important programs, dramatically increasing state funding for public education, for example.

But we need to recognize that this lottery-like period of growth is far from normal. And it has come at a time when Washington also steadily increased the cost of doing business here...

Read the guest commentary in The (Everett) Herald
Competitiveness Matters

Former Rep. Chandler: Inslee threat to prosperity

By Charles H. Featherstone in The Columbia Basin Herald

MOSES LAKE -- Gary Chandler has a message for Gov. Jay Inslee.

"Don't take away our opportunity to be competitive."

The drive for 100 percent clean energy would deprive the Pacific Northwest of its competitive edge on power prices, and the governor's proposed $4 billion in new taxes would hit the state's small business people particularly hard, Chandler said.

"The economy is good, but the economy is starting to slow," Chandler said. "Don't spend everything, don't tax everything."

Read the full story about Chandler's recent talk in The Columbia Basin Herald
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