Earlier this week, while the air quality across King County was extremely unhealthy due to wildfires in Canada, Governor Jay Inslee used the opportunity to grandstand and promote a gas tax (Initiative 1631). The Governor’s alter ego, “Captain Planet,” has been pushing a gas tax for years, and the idea has failed to pass in both the Legislature as well as an initiative in a previous election. Inslee and the rest of those advocating for this tax do not seem to understand one very clear issue: a gas tax is unwanted.
Sadly, a gas tax in Washington State has no impact on the smoke blowing down from Canada to pollute the Puget Sound region. But that didn’t stop our governor. Last week, as our state was blanketed in smoke and haze from forest fires, Inslee surrounded himself with children on a smoky playground scene, claiming the virtues of his latest gas tax initiative at a press conference. The smoke from this week’s wildfires in Canada (a country that already embraces a carbon tax) is hardly related to combustion engine emissions. Connecting the smoke from wildfires with a gas tax is simply misleading and dishonest.
According to Todd Myers from the Washington Policy Center, “the tax would start at 20 cents per gallon and increase about six percent per year (3.5% plus inflation). In 2029, the tax would be about 36 cents per gallon.” The idea of imposing a tax on gas and carbon emissions has been on the Democrat’s minds for a while now, as they worked to try and pass it as an initiative in 2016. I-732, or the Washington Carbon Emission Tax and Sales Tax Reduction, was overwhelming rejected by voters, losing 59.25% to 40.75%. Thankfully, we are happy to report that SB 6203, a bill that would create a gas tax, failed to pass the state Senate this year. Now, Democrat leaders have pushed for it to be on the ballot again as an initiative.
A gas tax was soundly rejected by Washington voters in 2016 and fell flat in the legislature earlier this year. Yet “Captain Planet” and the rest of those advocating for a gas tax are still trying to find a way to force its creation, this time as another initiative. Voters should do what they did in 2016 and vote no on a gas tax (I-1631 when it appears on ballots across the state this November.