Washington Gov. Inslee unveils carbon tax plan

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Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee has unveiled details of his latest effort to get legislative approval on a new tax on carbon emissions from fossil fuels.

Under bills introduced in the House and Senate Tuesday, a proposed tax of $20 per metric ton of carbon emissions would start on July 1, 2019 and increase annually by 3.5 percent over inflation.

The tax would raise about $1.5 billion over the first two years and an estimated $3.3 billion over the next four years. Half of the money from the tax – which would be paid by power plants and fuel importers but would ultimately affect consumers – would go into efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as programs to expand opportunities for renewable energy at both homes and utilities, and research of clean energy technology. An additional 35 percent would go into flood management and storm water infrastructure, and would also be used to reduce risks of wildfires.

Some money would offset taxes to eligible business and help low-income families.