OLYMPIA, Wash. - Former Secretary of State John Kerry was greeted as a rock star when he visited Democratic lawmakers to support plans for a tax on carbon pollution. His visit comes as the tax plan faces an important hearing later this week.
Before going into private meetings, Kerry praised the tax proposal supported by Gov. Inslee.
"The way they are looking at doing it is really helpful to rural Washington. It's helpful to those people who are economically challenged who are at the lower end of the economic ladder and struggling to get into the middle class because it sets aside help for those folks to be able to transition," Kerry said.
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The carbon tax would add 10 cents a gallon to the price of gasoline, but there would be broad exemptions for carbon-intensive businesses like agriculture and aerospace. The tax would also fund programs to help lower-income citizens.
Kerry is a staunch proponent of the Paris Climate Accord to fight global warming.
But Republican state Sen. Doug Ericksen worked for the Environment Protection Agency during the Trump administration. He helped the president withdraw from the climate agreement.
“I think it's ironic that Secretary Kerry is coming to Washington state to advocate for tax increases on working families that he won't have to pay and even the private jet that I'm sure he flew in here today would be exempt from the energy taxes that Gov. Inslee is putting forward," Ericksen said.
Inslee says Washington will abide by the Paris accord anyway. We asked Kerry if it made sense for the state to act on its own.
“Absolutely,” he said.
And he noted that a total of 38 states are also still trying to reach their goals under the Paris accords.
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