An extra special session in Washington State
On May 13, the Washington State legislature started its thirty-day special session, an addition to the 105 day “regular” session that ended last month. Unable to pass a budget during the regular session, the legislators are back at it after taking a couple of weeks to meet with constituents in their home districts. Let’s take a look at some of the key budget issues that Climate Solutions is following:
By Jessica Finn Coven
Washington State Director
On May 13, the Washington State legislature started its 30 day special session, an addition to the 105 day “regular” session that ended last month. Unable to pass a budget during the regular session, the legislators are back after meeting with constituents. Let’s take a look at some of the key budget issues that Climate Solutions is following:
Jobs Now grants: We’ve talked about Jobs Now grants before, because they’re just that good. In the capital budget passed by the House, $41 million is allocated to fund public building energy efficiency projects through Jobs Now grants. This is only slightly less than the previous budget biennium, which funded 77 projects, created thousands of jobs, lowered pollution, reduced public school energy bills and built healthy learning environments for kids across the state. How’s that for a win-win? Support the House capital budget and tell your legislators to fund the Jobs Now grants!
Clean Energy Fund: Governor Inslee requested $50 million for investing in clean energy innovation. This includes money for a revolving energy efficiency fund and research into energy storage, smart grid and advanced biofuels. These are the kind of investments that will take Washington’s clean energy economy to the next level, helping us to lead the world in clean energy solutions. We already have some of the best research institutions, high tech companies and startups in the world – let’s put them to work creating the new energy economy!
Let's Close the Big Oil Tax Loophole: The budget is not just about spending money, but also about making sure our tax code is fair and helps our state move forward. That is why any budget that comes out of this special session has to close the Big Oil Tax Loophole. The world’s most profitable companies have been exploiting an archaic tax loophole originally written for lumber mills in the 1940s. Over half a century later, there remains no good reason why oil companies like BP and Shell should get this preferential treatment – worth some $41 million every two years. This is money much better spent investing in our communities and our future, not on lining the pockets of Big Oil. Close the Big Oil Tax Loophole!
Budgets reflect values. In the special session budget talks, we will be watching closely to make sure that our legislature passes a budget that resonates with our commitment to Washington’s future and a thriving, sustainable, carbon-free economy.