OLYMPIA- State Senator Brad Hawkins defends his vote on a carbon tax bill that passed out of his committee last week. Hawkins was criticized in a letter from the Douglas County Commissioners earlier this week.
The Commissioners noted their opposition to the proposed tax and accused the Senator of failing to represent the interests of the 12th legislative district he serves. Hawkins responded to the Commissioners today in an interview with NCWLIFE News.
“Instead of voting no, I voted what’s called without recommendation, which isn’t a yes–it’s part of the minority opinion,” Hawkins said. “I voted without recommendation because I’m trying to keep an open mind to understand the impacts to our area.”
Hawkins says he’s still in the process of learning how a carbon tax would impact the region. The bill had a public hearing before the Senate Ways and Means committee yesterday. He says hydro power, which feeds the commercial, industrial and farm economy will not be affected and ultimately could enhance electric rates in North Central Washington. He also says it’s unclear at this time how the bill could impact agriculture. . .
“I’m just purely looking at this essentially from a cost-benefits scenario, and by the way, you have to look at the details of the bill,” Hawkins said. “The details that came out of the committee on farm, gas and diesel used in the orchards are actually exempt from the tax.”
Hawkins said he had not yet received the letter from the Douglas County Commissioners but assured them that he continues to research the issue and will take into consideration their concerns when the bill comes up for a final vote.