Democrats’ regressive policies will create more pain at the pump for Washingtonians

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Washington state drivers regularly pay some of the highest gasoline prices in the nation, thanks in part to a 49.4 cent state gas tax that ranks 8th-highest nationwide. But if you think gas prices are expensive now, wait until two new regressive policies enacted by Democrats during the 2021 legislative session fully go into effect. Some estimates predict House Bill 1091 and Senate Bill 5126 could add nearly 50 cents to the price of a gallon of gas by 2030, in addition to increasing the cost of food, goods, and heating for families across the state.

House Bill 1091 authorizes the state Department of Ecology to create a low-carbon fuel standard program to reduce the carbon intensity of transportation fuels. Not only will this program significantly increase the cost of gas and diesel without generating any new revenue for transportation projects, but independent studies project it will only reduce particulate matter air pollution by less than 1% by 2028. That’s a bad deal for Washingtonians.

Senate Bill 5126, also known as “cap-and-tax,” directs Ecology to implement a cap on greenhouse gas emissions from covered entities and a program to track, verify, and enforce compliance. This new, bureaucratic scheme is regressive and will unnecessarily raise costs for Washington families. It will particularly hurt those who are required to use gas and commute to work. Furthermore, these localized regulations will make us less competitive with little discernible impact on the global climate.

In addition to passing these bills, Democrats have expressed interest in increasing the state gas tax anywhere from 9.8 to 18 cents per gallon to pay for a new transportation package. If that happens, the majority’s decisions could cost you nearly $11 more every time you fill up your tank with gas.

The majority party talks a lot about our state’s upside-down, regressive tax system, but continues to push for bills that hurt low- and middle-income families the most. House Republicans will continue calling out their hypocrisy while fighting for Washington families and standing against punitive, ineffective policies.