The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday said it plans to come up with updated water quality standards for Washington partly tied to how much fish people eat – in case the state doesn’t do it by next year.
Gov. Jay Inslee released his long-anticipated carbon-emissions reduction program Wednesday, and it offered no surprise: a cap-and-trade program that would bring in $1 billion annually for schools and transportation projects, as well as tax credits for low-income families.
Holding his finger to the political winds, Gov. Jay Inslee, it seems, has determined Washington state voters have little appetite for an increase in the gas tax to fund transportation, and yet the state has billions of dollars in unfunded projects to ease traffic congestion, fix bridges, and a host of other needs.
Gov. Jay Inslee will unveil his vision for Washington state over four days this week as he prepares to roll out his budget proposal for the 2015-17 biennium, which officially kicks off Monday night with coordinated town halls in Bellevue, Tacoma, Moses Lake and Spokane devoted to education policy and spending.
While the final details on Gov. Jay Inslee’s budget proposal, the traditional starting gun for political wrangling over state spending in the legislative session, are still to be worked out before it’s unveiled next week, Office of Financial Management Director David Schumacher provided journalists in the Capitol press corps a preview Tuesday.
Solar energy production in Washington state is due for a makeover that could see it undergo a massive expansion, and open up its tax incentive program to companies that lease installation and operation of solar panels like SolarCity.
Given the current political climate surrounding energy production in Washington state, perhaps it wasn’t surprising a nuclear energy task force consisting of Democratic and Republican lawmakers failed to make recommendations when it met for the final time in 2014 on Wednesday.
“Washington’s unique clean and competitive energy assets position the state to succeed in a well-designed regulatory climate encouraging the use of less carbon intense energy sources. Businesses in Washington State have a leadership opportunity to drive a policy outcome where real reductions occur and the economy thrives.”
Aside from his ability to declare an air pollution emergency, there does not appear to be any law explicitly granting the Governor the power to set law in order to achieve carbon emissions reductions.
Gov. Jay Inslee wants to extend a sales tax break for electric vehicles and explore giving them access to car pool lanes. If the break is extended, it would mean a nearly $13 million hit in tax revenues in fiscal year 2016, and $17 million in 2017, according to most recent estimates by the Department of Revenue.