Major fee hike bill could arrive today

  • Jerry Cornfield
  • Friday, February 5, 2010 6:32am
  • Local News

One of the largest revenue-producing bills of the session is supposed to arrive today.

The Environmental Priorities Coalition is planning to deliver its proposed legislation that could generate $225 million in a year into the state’s general fund, most of it from the bank accounts of oil refiners.

The legislation is an updated version of the per-barrel fee that had a head of steam going in the final days of the 2009 session then crashed. The major change is it will impose a major hike in the hazardous waste clean-up fee. Here’s a Washington State Wire story on the subject by Erik Smith.

Here’s the coalition’s take on what to expect when it arrives:

What hasn’t changed:

1. The bill is still a shared, top priority of labor, cities and counties, as well as our environmental coalition.

2. It will still help solve our state’s biggest water pollution problem, stormwater runoff.

3. It still funds new jobs in the construction industry (their unemployment rate is 27%!) to build the infrastructure needed.

4. Finally, it relieves some of the pressure facing local municipalities that don’t have funding for the federally-mandated clean-up projects, rather than make them look at increasing property taxes and utility rates on the individual taxpayer.

Here’s what’s new:

1. We’re changing the revenue source from a per-barrel fee on petroleum to an increase of an existing tax on polluters.

2. A portion of the new revenue would go to the state’s general fund for the next few years, to help offset the painful budgets cuts facing everyone. This means that now our friends in health care and education are behind this bill too.

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