• Businesses join support for Gov. Inslee's carbon tax measure

    By: Associated Press

    Updated:

    SEATTLE - Microsoft Corp., REI, environmental groups and others are backing efforts by Gov. Jay Inslee to tax fossil fuel emissions to fight climate change.

    Inslee has proposed a new tax of $20 per metric ton of carbon emissions that would start in 2019 and increase annually by 3.5 percent over inflation.

    >> Related: Gov. Inslee makes pitch for carbon tax

    Money raised would pay for programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, manage stormwater and reduce wildfire risks. Some money would offset taxes to energy-intensive businesses and help low-income families.

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    If the Legislature doesn't act on a carbon policy during the 60-day session, a coalition of environmental, labor and other groups vow to move ahead with a citizen's initiative this November.

    With that prospect looming, some businesses told lawmakers at a hearing Tuesday they would prefer to work through the legislative process.

    Previous plans to charge a fee for carbon pollution did not gain traction in the Legislature, including last year, and in 2016 voters rejected a ballot measure on a carbon tax.

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