Daily Sun News Editorial

Gov. Inslee sees chance to impose carbon tax

DAILY SUN NEWS EDITORIAL

With Democrats taking control in Olympia in just a few days, it’s not surprising to see a new carbon tax proposal coming from the governor’s mansion.

This time, however, Gov. Jay Inslee is pushing his tax idea in the name of the school funding.

Furthermore, he’s suggesting it’s the only way the state can get out from under the state Supreme Court’s McCleary decision on education funding.

The governor would have us believe we need to deplete our state’s “rainy day fund” to cover what he suggests is a $950 million education funding shortfall.

That money would be used to raise teacher and administrator salaries, which in Eastern Washington, are already higher than the median wages most full-time workers are paid in the private sector.

The governor then would slip in his carbon tax to refill the reserve fund coffers by an amount of $1.5 billion.

Sneaky maneuver – taking $950 out of reserves and then collecting $1.5 million to pay it back. Sounds like an end-run around the public to increase state taxes by $550 million.

Over the last few years, the tax-and-spend Democrat in the governor’s mansion has been blocked by the Senate’s Majority Caucus Coalition, a mix of Republicans and a conservative Democrat or two opposed to creating a new tax on emissions.

With a very liberal Democrat replacing Republican businessman Dino Rossi in the Senate on Jan. 1, the caucus has already ceded power to Democrats, and with it goes control of the entire state government.

So, it’s apparent Inslee sees an opening to push his extreme environmentalist agenda with the change.

Regardless of the makeup of the Legislature and the party of the governor, raiding the state’s reserve fund is a bad idea.

Additionally, we don’t believe education should be used as an excuse to create a new tax on emissions.

Granted, the governor has yet to detail his new carbon tax proposal. But given his track record, we don’t need to see what tax he’ll propose next.

Voters were very clear in November about recent taxes enacted by the Legislature and governor during the last session. In three advisory measures, voters strongly opposed new taxes enacted without a public vote.

A carbon tax, too, has been strongly rejected by voters. Carbon Tax Initiative 732 was resoundingly defeated by voters in November 2016. Modeled after a foreign law – a so-called “carbon tax” law does not exist in the U.S. – the measure would have added a new, increasing tax on fossil fuels such as oil, gasoline and coal.

Of the state’s 39 counties, only King County voters supported the measure. It passed there with a measly 51 percent. It failed with 63 percent opposed in Pierce County, 56 percent opposed in Whatcom and even 53.5 percent opposed in Jefferson County, arguably three of the most liberal counties in the state. East of the Cascades, voters in Yakima, Benton and Spokane counties defeated the measure with 67.4 percent, 71.1 percent and 67.4 percent of the vote. And in Lincoln County, the carbon tax proposal was torpedoed with 85.5 percent of voters opposed.

Despite the overwhelming opposition to the carbon tax idea in our state, Inslee has continued to try to force his extreme tax agenda.

Lawmakers, and voters, need to tell Gov. Inslee in no uncertain terms that the carbon tax plan is dead on arrival the first day of the upcoming legislative session. Otherwise, state residents will be paying additional taxes and resulting higher costs for goods and services to appease a governor kowtowing to special interests.

And our public educational system won’t be any better than it is today.



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