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Wash. Supreme Court says pollution tax constitutional

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The state Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that the state's existing hazardous substances tax, which was approved by voters in 1988, is constitutional.

The high court on Thursday upheld a King County Superior court ruling that found that the state is not precluded from using the current tax of 0.7 percent imposed on oil products, pesticides and other chemicals for environmental cleanup projects.

The Automotive United Trades Organization and California-based Tower Energy Group had argued that that the underlying tax is essentially a gas tax, and should be only used for highways and roads as directed the state Constitution's 18th amendment, which dedicates motor fuel tax collections to "highway purposes."

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