April 15, 2019
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Low-carbon fuel standard bill misses key legislative cutoff

House Bill 1110, which would create a low-carbon fuel standard (LCSF) in Washington, did not pass an April 9 legislative cutoff deadline to move out of the Senate Transportation Committee. In theory that means the bill is dead, although it could be brought back to life by being included in the budget, The Lens News reports.

The bill would mandate lower carbon-intensity fuels, ramping up to 20 percent below 2017 levels by 2035, and would increase the cost of fuels and drive up the cost of consumer goods.

"AWB opposes the LCFS because it would increase fuel prices, driving the cost of consumer goods higher," said Mike Ennis, AWB government affairs director for transportation policy.

He noted some key issues with the LCFS, which has already been implemented in California:

  • The California Energy Commission (CEC) recently released their February report showing California’s LCFS increased the cost of gasoline by 16 cents per gallon and the cost of diesel by 16.6 cents per gallon. These numbers will continue to rise as implementation ramps up to 100%; currently California’s program is only about half implemented.

  • The California Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) estimates California’s LCFS will raise the cost of gasoline by 46 cents per gallon by 2030 and the cost of diesel by 50 cents per gallon also by 2030 (see page 30). The LAO report also states, “Most or all of the costs of purchasing credits and allowances are likely passed on to fuel consumers in the form of higher retail prices.” (page 32)

  • The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency has a report that shows an LCFS in Washington would increase fuel prices by 9-14 cents per gallon. (slide 24)

Contact Ennis, AWB government affairs director for transportation, to learn more.

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State Funding

Lifting levy lid violates spirit of McCleary deal

By The Columbian Editorial Board

Efforts in the Legislature to remove a lid on local school levies represent a step backward for school funding in Washington. Rather than invite a return to inequitable funding and open the door for lawsuits, lawmakers should provide state funding where necessary and adhere to a hard-fought agreement.

Following the 2012 state Supreme Court ruling in McCleary v. Washington, lawmakers took five years to hammer out a compromise in which the state would fully fund public K-12 education. That compromise limited local levies to $1.50 per $1,000 in assessed property value or $1,500 per student, whichever is less.

That was the promise lawmakers gave to taxpayers in 2017 -- state property taxes would increase in order for the Legislature to live up to its "paramount duty" of funding basic education. In exchange, local levies would decrease. The adjustments would prevent inequalities between districts that were at the heart of the McCleary decision; local levies had been used to fund basic expenses such as teacher salaries, creating disparities between wealthy districts and poor districts.

Now, school districts want the Legislature to keep both state and local property taxes high. Senate Bill 5313 would allow districts to tax up to $2.50 per $1,000 in assessed value -- a 67 percent increase from the current law -- or $2,500 per student, depending on a district's enrollment.

Passage of such a plan would put the state on the road to McCleary 2.0. It would invite the return of an unfair funding system that triggered the lawsuit in the first place and that had the amenities of a public education determined by a student's ZIP code.

Read the full editorial in The Columbian
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