The Gulf of Mexico oil disaster has prompted more planning by lawmakers in Washington State to increase taxes on oil companies to pay for preventing oil spills and toxic runoff in the state's waters. The proposed tax would make up for a 43 percent funding decline in Washington's oil spill prevention program since 2006. The House Ecology and Parks Committee discussed a tax on oil companies and possible regulatory changes. It is likely that some form of the proposed tax will be introduced, although a similar proposal died earlier this year after intense lobbying by the oil industry.
House Bill 3181 was considered last year to boost spill response and curb storm-water pollution. The bill would have more than doubled a tax on hazardous substances and added about $100 million to the $250 million in storm-water funding already raised by cities throughout the state. Now that the oil industry may have less traction with legislators and voters, it is likely that these companies will soon be paying additional taxes on top of what they're already paying.
It appears legislators are using the oil disaster to hit taxpayers once more.