Official: Raise Washington insurance tax to help fight wildfires

MGN
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SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - With an increasing number of forest fires scorching portions of Washington each year, the state Legislature there is considering a proposal to create a fund dedicated to preventing and battling wildfires.

Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz and state Senate Democrats want to increase the tax on premiums for property and casualty insurance in order to raise $62.5 million annually to pay for wildfire suppression and prevention.

Franz said more than 2.2 million homes in Washington are exposed to wildfire, and the cost to fight such fires has averaged $153 million per year over the past five years.

The money would come from raising the tax on premiums for property and casualty insurance from 2% to 2.52%. Franz says the increase would cost the average household less than $2 per month.

The state's insurance industry says the proposal unfairly targets insurers.