THE GATE DROPS ON THE 2017 LEGISLATIVE SESSION

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

The 2017 Washington State legislative session got underway with a flurry this week.
There has been nine pieces of budget related legislation introduced and so far our ORV funding is safe.
Even better, both the House and Senate capital budget bills include increasing the NOVA allocation to just over 13
million dollars. This is a nearly four million dollar increase and reflects our fair share of the recent increase in gas tax
revenue.
So far, so good, but these bills will undoubtedly evolve significantly before they are enacted so we will be watching
closely.
We have drafted new landowner liability protection legislation and our lobbyist, Grant Nelson, is working with potential
opposition lobbyists to see if we can come up with something they will not block.
For our ATV buddies, legislation has been introduced to expand the number of counties with an automatic opt-in for
WATV road use.
The carbon tax legislation requested by the Governor was introduced Thursday and it includes adding a $25 tax per
metric ton of carbon dioxide produced by most fossil fuels, including motor vehicle fuel. Based on approximately 20
pounds of carbon dioxide produced per gallon of gas burned this would work out to about 22 cents a gallon. Additionally
it would annually increase by the rate of inflation plus 3.5 percent.
The revenue would go into a new carbon pollution reduction account. Taxing motor vehicle fuel and using the revenue
for non-highway purposes is in violation of Washington State Constitution Article II, Section 40.
That is why we get our ORV gas tax money “refunded” into the NOVA account.

Happy trails,

Tod Petersen
NMA Legislative/Land Use Coordinator

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