The following newsletter was sent to Sen. Ericksen’s subscribers Jan. 12, 2018. To subscribe to Sen. Ericksen’s newsletters, click here.
— Rule change on opening day of session eliminates taxpayer protection.
— 2/3 vote of Senate was required for procedural votes on tax increases.
— Dems insist on eliminating rule, removing obstacles for big tax hikes.
We’re back in Olympia for another legislative session – and already our colleagues are working to raise taxes. Democrats have won a narrow majority in the Senate this year, and their first important action on the Senate floor this week was to make tax increases easier.
Senate rules required a two-thirds vote before tax bills could be advanced to the floor for final passage. Democrats eliminated this important taxpayer protection when they adopted new rules Monday. I was among those who objected and voted no.
The 2/3 rule is important because it ensures legislators of both parties must agree before taxes can be increased. The people of Washington have said overwhelmingly that they want this protection. They have voted for it six times.
Now the Democrats have sent a very clear message that they are coming for your wallets.
Governor’s energy tax is really a ‘death tax’ for Washington
State gas taxes would soon approach $1 a gallon
Gov. Jay Inslee has proposed a dramatic increase in taxes on gasoline and other forms of energy. He is calling it a “carbon tax,” but we should call it what it is – an energy tax, and a death tax for Washington.
This proposal will devastate Washington’s economy and create hardship for people across the state. It is death for manufacturing, and for the middle-class families who will wind up paying the bulk of the tax.
Inslee’s proposal would increase state taxes on gasoline by 40 percent, and there would be large automatic increases every year. The tax would double within a decade. We already have the second-highest gas tax in the country, at 49.4 cents. This would add another 20 cents immediately, and state gas taxes would soon approach a dollar a gallon.
By calling it a “tax on carbon,” the governor obscures the fact that it is a tax on the people. Washington would pay higher prices for energy – and for food, durable products and services – and anything else that depends on transportation. Our state’s low-cost energy advantage would be eliminated. We can expect economic stagnation that will make it more difficult to create jobs.
This death tax specifically targets lower-income people and middle-class families because they will pay a much higher percentage of their income in taxes than the wealthy. It exempts many big corporations with loopholes, while massively increasing taxes on small businesses and the middle class. It is corporate cronyism at its worst.
Under Jay Inslee’s death tax, the companies with the most lobbyists win, and working families are the ones who will pay.
Little help from Dems on household wells
Hirst decision threatens property owners in Whatcom County, entire state
One of the most important issues in the Legislature for Whatcom County, and for areas like it around the state, is the Supreme Court’s Hirst decision. This misguided ruling, based on technical reasoning, makes it virtually impossible for rural property owners to drill new wells. This decision has nothing to do with water supply, and everything to do with efforts by urban environmental groups to prevent development in rural areas.
Hirst is a disaster for our communities. Rural property owners can expect property values to plummet $37 billion, according to a recent study. Local governments will be forced to raise taxes on everyone else to make up the difference. In the Senate, we passed legislation last year to fix this problem – by overturning the ruling. Our Democratic colleagues refused to consider it.
Urban lawmakers this year have taken an interest only because we held up approval of the capital budget, which is of importance to the entire state. But Democratic proposals would force higher costs on property owners and place new restrictions on water usage.
We got an indication this week of continuing indifference to this important issue. In his State of the State address, Gov. Jay Inslee outlined the issues he believes are most important to the state. And not once did he mention Hirst.
Committed to serving Whatcom County in the state Senate
Last week the press made a major mistake – reporting that I will be leaving the Legislature to take a job with the Environmental Protection Agency. This is not the case, and I remain committed to serving the people of Whatcom County in the Washington State Senate.
President Donald Trump is about to finish the most successful first year of any president in the modern era, and it was an honor to serve on his transition team at the Environmental Protection Agency. One of his good decisions was to appoint Mr. Chris Hladick of Alaska as the Region 10 EPA administrator. Mr. Hladick is exceptionally well-qualified for the position and will bring common-sense leadership back to our federal government.
As a state senator who has been elected nine times by the people of the 42nd District, I always try to do what is right for my constituents, the state and my family. That is why I have decided to stay in the state Senate. I will continue to work with our federal government to get great things done here in Washington state.
We face many great challenges this session, including ineffective environmental policies and the governor’s proposal for punishing energy taxes. As lead Republican on the Energy, Environment and Technology Committee, I look forward to defending the interests of Washington’s working families. I am proud to continue representing the people of the 42nd Legislative District.
Phone: (360) 786-7682
Mail: P.O. Box 40442, Olympia, WA 98504