Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We are now in the final 30 days of the legislative session. Spending and taxes will be the primary focus from here on out. The good news is that Washington state has record revenue coming in. The bad news is that, for some in government, there is never enough money.
Gas tax increase and low-carbon fuel tax
Gas prices are rising and will continue to rise as our economy rebuilds. Both of these tax proposals will further increase the price of gasoline.
First, the gas tax increase. The word around the Capitol is that the majority party will introduce a transportation revenue package next week that will raise the tax on a gallon of gasoline. If the increase is 7 cents or more, Washington will move from the third highest to the highest gas tax in the country.
Second, the low carbon fuel tax. This tax is especially upside down because the public does not get the money. Instead, the funds are diverted to private companies like Tesla in the form of subsidies. Most, if not all, of these companies will be in Silicon Seattle or outside Washington state entirely. Meanwhile, family farmers and truck drivers in Eastern Washington will foot a lot of the bill without receiving the benefit of maintained roads and bridges.
Instead of raising gas taxes, we should be dedicating a significant portion of the federal money coming into our state to repair our roads and invest in our public infrastructure.
Capital gains income tax
A tax on capital gains income recently passed the Washington state Senate despite bi-partisan opposition. The vote was 25-24.
Last week, the bill was heard in the House Finance Committee, on which I sit. The measure is unconstitutional and unnecessary. Our state constitution prohibits income taxes, a position that has been reaffirmed many times by courts and by voters. On top of that, we don't need the money. Our budget is bigger than ever before.
I strongly oppose any form of income tax. If one is ever implemented, it will expand to include more people and the rate will almost certainly go up.
If you agree, please contact as many legislators as you can in the state House of Representatives. The camel nose is sniffing the edge of the tent.
Thanks for taking the time to read my legislative updates. I welcome and appreciate your feedback.