Democrats revise cap and trade bill in hopes of passage

  • By Jerry Cornfield
  • Monday, May 11, 2015 12:32pm
  • Local News

Public schools would continue to receive the largest chunk of $1.2 billion generated from a cap and trade program in Washington under a revised proposal released Monday by House Democrats.

But oil refiners and lumber mill operators also stand to receive hundreds of millions dollars as well and no money would be spent on transportation as desired by Gov. Jay Inslee.

On Thursday, the House Appropriations Committee will hold a hearing on the proposed substitute to House Bill 1314. A companion bill was introduced in the Senate Monday.

“This new draft proposal advances our goal to reduce carbon emissions so we can have a safe environment while at the same time addressing the major concerns raised by impacted businesses,” said Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, D-Burien, prime sponsor of HB 1314 in a press release.

One change in the new version is the share of funds for schools increases from $380 million per year to $500 million per year. Another eliminates money for transportation and provides funding for oil refiners, loggers and mill operators as well as tax rebates and housing assistance for low-income families.

In all, money generated by the auction of carbon pollution allowances would be directed into 10 different pots. Here’s the breakdown provided by Democrats:

-$500 million to invest in public schools

-$333 million in rebates to refiners and fuel suppliers to limit increases in fuel prices

-$193 million for a new Working Forests and Local Mills economic development program that provides payments to forest landowners who sell Washington timber to Washington mills

-$108 million to fund the Working Families Tax Rebate

-$70 million in grants to address cumulative environmental impacts and social and economic disparities, starting in 2017

-$67.5 million in capital projects that enhance forest health, protect habitat, and increase carbon sequestration

-$53 million to keep energy intense and trade-exposed industries competitive by covering compliance costs

-$21.5 million to address the increasing costs of fire suppression

-$15 million for the Washington Housing Trust Fund

-Tax credits for bulk transporters of agricultural products and for mills that generate new jobs.

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