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Pollution a ‘better thing to tax’, state rep. says

(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
LISTEN: Carbon tax a 'better thing to tax', state rep. says

Governor Jay Inslee introduced one of his longest coveted legislative goals: a carbon tax.

It’s included in a bill that mandates fuel standards for the state. And the governor has a real shot at passing it this session, with Democrats now with the majority in both the House and the Senate.

RELATED: 7 takeaways from Inslee’s State of the State

But what will it actually mean for us? Well, potentially higher prices at the pump.

Representative Joe Fitzgibbon of Burien, who heads the House Environmental Committee, says the governor’s proposal will tax $20 per ton of carbon pollution. It targets those emitting the pollution, who could either soak up the costs or pass them along to drivers. If that happened, we could see gas cost as much as 20 cents more per gallon, Fitzgibbon says.

Washington state already has some of the highest gas prices in the country. Will Inslee’s carbon tax actually get support?

“We will have support because we figure pollution is a better thing to tax than business activity or the value of people’s homes,” Fitzgibbon said.

There are people who drive that have no other choice, however. People living in rural areas don’t have another option.

Fitzgibbon says there will be “great opportunities” for people who want to shift away from fossil fuels, including biofuel.

He says people shouldn’t worry about their electricity bills going up either because Washington state already has some of the cleanest energy in the country.

“Most electricity consumers would see very little change …”

That’s not to say there wouldn’t be increases in electricity bills. Puget Sound Energy still uses coal for 37 percent of its energy production.

You can hear the entire interview on Seattle’s Morning News here.

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