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Legislators looking at new, 19-cents-per-gallon carbon tax bill

Washingtonians could be paying another 19 cents a gallon at the pump if a new carbon tax bill passes in the Legislature. (AP Photo/File)

If you thought that voting down Initiative 1631 was the end of a carbon tax here in Washington, you could be wrong — the tax has been resurrected in a more expensive form in Senate Bill 5971.

The new bill, as outlined on the Washington Policy Center’s blog by Todd Myers, director of the Washington Policy Center’s Center for the Environment, would add taxes to fossil fuels used for vehicles, home heating, and home electricity.

“We voted down a carbon tax last year that would have been … 13 cents a gallon, and what just passed out of the Senate Transportation Committee is actually higher than that, it would be … 19 cents a gallon,” Myers told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson.

RELATED: Dori | Legislature punishing your lifestyle in the name of clean energy

For a two-car household, Myers and his WPC colleagues calculated that the bill would mean $200 to nearly $300 per year in new taxes.

“I think it has become a crusade, and I mean a crusade in a sort of emotional sense, because the costs of these things have totally been thrown to the side … When you keep screaming that climate change is an existential crisis, you stop caring about what the price is to working families,” Myers said.

The 19-cents-per-gallon tax actually is the cheapest carbon tax option currently in the Legislature, Myers noted ironically. Other proposals would see a gas tax going up to 34 cents per gallon — a burden for low-income families who have to live in cheaper areas outside the city and commute many miles to work  every day.

Legislators are also looking to subsidize electric vehicles, he said, but according to WPC research, it is wealthier people tend to purchase these cars.

“Not only are we hitting working families with taxes, we are now taking taxes from working families and handing them to wealthy families,” Myers said. “It’s really a mess.”

This session in Olympia represents an extreme swing to the Left on the political pendulum, in Myers’ view.

“It’s a really strange political time, it’s one of the strangest sessions I’ve seen,” he said.

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