Washington Gov. Jay Inslee speaks during a news conference in March at the Capitol in Olympia. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee speaks during a news conference in March at the Capitol in Olympia. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Inslee wants one more thing: An extra nickel at the gas pump

He’s ready to call lawmakers back for a special session to get money for the new climate change bills.

OLYMPIA — Gov Jay Inslee on Monday celebrated lawmakers’ passage of two major climate change bills he’s pursued for years.

Now, to carry them out, he’s got to get them to do one more thing — agree on a transportation package with a nickel hike in the gas tax.

And if it means summoning lawmakers into special session, he’s ready.

“If there’s progress, you bet, we’re prepared to call people back,” he told reporters at a news conference. “There’s no reason to wait. We’ve got things to build. We’ve got bridges we’ve got to fix and I would look forward to that.”

State lawmakers approved a cap-and-trade system that will put a price on carbon emissions and a low carbon fuel standard, which aims to reduce vehicle tailpipe emissions by requiring production of cleaner burning fuels.

But to corral enough votes for each measure, Democratic sponsors had to insert provisions making implementation of each program contingent on approval of a new revenue package for highway projects by Jan. 1, 2023, when enforcement of the climate change programs is supposed to kick in.

Packages were crafted in each chamber during the session that ended Sunday, but neither advanced far.

Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens, chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, drew up a 16-year, $17.8 billion “Forward Washington” plan. It counted on $5.2 billion generated by the cap-and-trade program and a roughly equal amount from a proposed 9.8-cent gas tax increase. The plan contained two dozen other fees and taxes.

Democrats on the committee approved it over Republican dissent. It died in the Rules Committee, but it is likely to be the blueprint for future conversations.

While Inslee said Monday that he wants a transportation package, he also made clear he opposed the legislative linkage. He left the door open to finding a way to decouple the two, including a veto.

“We are reviewing all the laws,” he said. “We are not prepared to make decisions about vetoes today.”

During the same news conference, the three-term governor encouraged legislators to hunker down and get it done.

“We do need a transportation package that will allow our state to go forward,” he said. “We will be working on those issues while we are not technically in session.”

Republicans opposed the carbon pricing and clean-fuels bills, arguing they will drive up the cost of gasoline by more than a dollar a gallon without producing any measurable decline in greenhouse gas emissions associated with climate change.

While they aren’t outright opposed to a package, they disagreed with knotting a specific gas tax hike with the climate change policies.

“It keeps getting called a ‘grand bargain’ but I am not sure who it’s a grand bargain for. Certainly not for any of my constituents,” Rep. Drew Stokesbary, R-Auburn, said at a Republican news conference Monday. “I’d be extremely disappointed, to put it mildly, if for the last year Democrats said we couldn’t come back for special session to address some of the urgent circumstances created by the coronavirus but now they want to come back for special session to raise a regressive tax by a dollar.”

House Minority Leader J.T. Wilcox, R-Yelm, cautioned Democrats against excluding them from the conversation, noting such packages typically include a bond bill, and those require 60% support in both chambers to pass.

“It is going to take Republican votes if they are going to do a bond,” he said.

Reporter Jerry Cornfield: jcornfield@heraldnet.com | @dospueblos

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Snohomish residents Barbara Bailey, right, and Beth Jarvis sit on a gate atop a levee on Bailey’s property on Monday, May 13, 2024, at Bailey Farm in Snohomish, Washington. Bailey is concerned the expansion of nearby Harvey Field Airport will lead to levee failures during future flood events due to a reduction of space for floodwater to safely go. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Harvey Field seeks to reroute runway in floodplain, faces new pushback

Snohomish farmers and neighbors worry the project will be disruptive and worsen flooding. Ownership advised people to “read the science.”

IAM District 751 machinists join the picket line to support Boeing firefighters during their lockout from the company on Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Amid lockout, Boeing, union firefighters return to bargaining table

The firefighters and the planemaker held limited negotiations this week: They plan to meet again Monday, but a lockout continues.

Lynnwood
Lynnwood woman sentenced for stabbing Bellingham woman while she slept

Johanna Paola Nonog, 23, was sentenced last week to nine years in prison for the July 2022 stabbing of a woman she’d recently met.

Granite Falls
Man presumed dead after fall into river near Granite Falls

Around 5 p.m. Sunday, the man fell off smooth rocks into the Stillaguamish River. Authorities searched for his body Monday.

Pilot found dead near Snoqualmie Pass after Arlington flight

Jerry Riedinger’s wife reported he never made it to his destination Sunday evening. Wreckage of his plane was found Monday afternoon.

Firefighters respond to a fire on Saturday morning in Lake Stevens. (Photo provided by Snohomish Regional Fire & Rescue)
1 woman dead in house fire east of Lake Stevens

Firefighters responded to find a house “fully engulfed in flames” in the 600 block of Carlson Road early Saturday.

YMCA swim instructor Olivia Beatty smiles as Claire Lawson, 4, successfully swims on her own to the wall during Swim-a-palooza, a free swim lesson session, at Mill Creek Family YMCA on Saturday, May 18, 2024 in Mill Creek, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Splish splash! YMCA hosts free swim lessons around Snohomish County

The Y is building a “whole community” of water safety. On Saturday, kids got to dip their toes in the water as the first step on that journey.

Bothell
2 injured in Bothell Everett Highway crash

The highway was briefly reduced to one northbound lane while police investigated the three-car crash Saturday afternoon.

Heavy traffic northbound on 1-5 in Everett, Washington on August 31, 2022.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
On I-5 in Everett, traffic nightmare is reminder we’re ‘very vulnerable’

After a police shooting shut down the freeway, commutes turned into all-night affairs. It was just a hint of what could be in a widespread disaster.

The Eternal Flame monument burns in the center of the Snohomish County Campus on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Elected officials to get 10% pay bump, or more, in Snohomish County

Sheriff Susanna Johnson will see the highest raise, because she was paid less than 10 of her own staff members.

Anthony Brock performs at Artisans PNW during the first day of the Fisherman’s Village Music Fest on Thursday, May 16, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
At downtown Everett musical festival: ‘Be weird and dance with us’

In its first night, Fisherman’s Village brought together people who “might not normally be in the same room together” — with big acts still to come.

Two troopers place a photo of slain Washington State Patrol trooper Chris Gadd outside District 7 Headquarters about twelve hours after Gadd was struck and killed on southbound I-5 about a mile from the headquarters on Saturday, March 2, 2024, in Marysville, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Judge reduces bail for driver accused of killing Marysville trooper

After hearing from Raul Benitez Santana’s family, a judge decreased bail to $100,000. A deputy prosecutor said he was “very disappointed.”

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.