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Campaign Seeks Washington Carbon Tax

PPL Montana

Governor Jay Inslee has said he would like to see the state institute a carbon emissions tax, but so far efforts to do that in the legislature have gone nowhere. Now, a petition campaign seeks to do just that.

  The group Carbon Washington has started an initiative to the legislature to pass a carbon dioxide emissions tax. Organizers call it a “relief pitcher” proposal should the legislature fail to act on a similar proposal form Governor Jay Inslee.

Organizer Duncan Klausen says the initiative is based on a law that was enacted in British Columbia seven years ago, that taxes the fossil fuel producer or importer, and mitigates those costs at the consumer level.

Klausen: "So it’s on oil and gas importers and refineries, and so to mitigate that we reduce the state sales tax one full percentage point, from six and  half to five and a half percent. We provide funding to the Washington working families’ rebate, which is part of the earned income tax credit, and then we virtually eliminate the business and occupation taxes of manufacturers in the state.”

The group has put together an online calculator with University of Washington to determine the actual impact of such a law on consumers based on income and fuel use.  The calculator is online at

Backers need to collect 315,000 signatures by December. The legislature can then pass the measure, propose an alternative, or if they do nothing it will wind up on the ballot in November of 2016.

Steve was part of the Spokane Public Radio family for many years before he came on air in 1999. His wife, Laurie, produced Radio Ethiopia in the late 1980s through the '90s, and Steve used to “lurk in the shadowy world” of Weekend SPR. Steve has done various on air shifts at the station, including nearly 15 years as the local Morning Edition host. Currently, he is the voice of local weather and news during All Things Considerd, writing, editing, producing and/or delivering newscasts and features for both KPBX and KSFC. Aside from SPR, Steve ,who lives in the country, enjoys gardening, chickens, playing and listening to music, astronomy, photography, sports cars and camping.
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