OLYMPIA—In anticipation of Earth Day, Sen. Guy Palumbo, D-Maltby, introduced legislation today to reduce carbon emissions while generating new revenue for the state.

“This session the Legislature is tasked with finding a permanent funding solution to McCleary while also funding an operating budget that works for every Washington family,” said Palumbo. “In order to get this done, we need creative solutions that everyone can get behind. This bill raises revenue and invests in programs to curb the harmful effects of climate change while freeing up state dollars for other priorities like funding basic education.”

Senate Bill 5930 would set a carbon tax of $15 per metric ton of CO2, beginning in July of 2018. The rate would then increase annually until it reaches $30 per ton. The bill is projected to raise about $1.8 billion per year by 2024 according to analysis done by the Washington Business Alliance using their Washington State Green House Gas Reduction Explorer tool.

The bill has already earned support from environmental groups in Washington state.

“Climate change is the biggest threat facing birds and people, and it’s our responsibility to reduce carbon pollution at the speed and scale required to avoid the worst,” said Gail Gatton, Executive Director of Audubon Washington. “Audubon Washington welcomes Sen. Palumbo’s new bill as yet another sign that Washingtonians are committed to finding and implementing climate solutions. We look forward to discussing the details of the bill over the coming days and welcome all voices – from business to labor, from Spokane to Sequim – to give this bill thoughtful consideration.”

SB 5930 is projected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 180 metric tons over the next 17 years. That would reduce carbon levels 9 percent below 1990 levels.

“As someone who comes from the business community, I’ve learned that when negotiations stall you have to bring fresh ideas to the table,” said Palumbo. “This proposal is a new approach to revenue that I believe can help break the logjam in our budget negotiations.”

Much of the new tax revenue would be invested in clean-energy technologies geared toward meeting reduction goals. The rest would be directed toward programs that assist low-income families with energy costs, improve the health of our forests, prevent wildfires, reduce storm water pollution and provide funding for school buses.

“Senator Palumbo’s bill is a good start at a centrist framework,” said Kyle Murphy, Executive Director of CarbonWA. “Citizens in Washington realize climate change is a risk to future generations and they want to see action. We are hopeful the Legislature uses Palumbo’s bill as a starting point to provide leadership on this issue.”

“Washington’s kids deserve protection against the harmful effects of carbon pollution as much as a well-funded and robust public school system,” Palumbo said. “My proposal would deliver both while investing in sustainable technologies and businesses.”

Palumbo added that his moderate carbon tax proposal is likely to garner support from environmental activists and business leaders alike.

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For more information – Jon Fowler, Senate Democratic Caucus: 360-786-7535