Lewis County PUD

The Lewis County Public Utilities District Board of Commissioners this week passed a resolution opposing an initiative that would charge a higher tax on electric utility customers.

“The commission is concerned with the complexity, unanswered questions, and unintended consequence pertaining to the details of this initiative,” stated the release. “The PUD is committed to providing safe, reliable, low carbon electricity.”

Initiative 732 will be on the Washington state voter’s ballot in November. If passed, the initiative would impose an estimated $1.6 million tax on Lewis County PUD customers in 2017, and $2.7 million in 2018. The tax would increase each year until it reached its cap of an estimated tax bill of $10.8 million per year, stated the release.

“All this is regardless of the fact that nearly all of the PUD’s resources are carbon free,” stated the release.

The tax is paid by electric utility customers, and collected by utilities to be remitted to the state general fund. The administrative and reporting requirements would result in increased staff time, as well as additional costs.

The tax is on carbon emissions from electricity generated by fossil fuels. It includes electricity generated within or imported to the state. It also affects electricity acquired from Bonneville Power Administration, stated the release.

The initiative proposes a $15 tax per metric ton on carbon dioxide emissions beginning in July 2017, with an increase to $25 tax per metric ton in July 2018. The following years it would increase at a rate of 3.5 percent plus inflation up to a $100 tax per metric ton limit is reached.

The tax would fund a 1 percent reduction in the sales tax, a reduction in the Business and Occupation tax on manufacturing, and would provide funding for the working families sales tax exemption, stated the release.

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