As the special legislative session gets underway in Olympia, Gov. Jay Inslee says some of the most important parts of his two-year budget proposal are investments in clean energy.
During a fundraiser for the nonprofit group Climate Solutions on Monday, the governor said he is pushing for a state budget that includes funds to start a new research center at the University of Washington.
“To move forward on solar panels, to move forward on a better battery storage, to move forward on energy technology, to move forward on smart grid connections. And at Washington State, to have a center for biofuels excellence,” Inslee said.
And he said he wants the state to put $50 million into a fund to help entrepreneurs in these fields get off the ground and create new businesses all over Washington. It's a capital investment he first called for as part of the jobs plan he unveiled in February.
Inslee says he’s committed to fighting for the greenest budget in Washington state history. But he also asked the crowd for help, reminding them they could talk to their legislators about climate issues.
Lawmakers are facing a court mandate to devote billions more to basic education. They also need to address a projected budget deficit of more than $1.2 billion for the next two years, and are divided about whether to raise revenue by extending taxes or eliminating tax breaks.
Promoting a clean energy economy was the centerpiece of the governor's campaign.