Ericksen says governor’s call for barrel tax ‘a threat to blue-collar jobs’

Senator Doug EricksenSen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, issued this statement in response to the governor’s call today for a 10-year, $3.7 billion transportation tax package centered on a new $1.50 per barrel tax on oil refined in Washington.

“Today the governor asked the Legislature to approve the largest tax increase on a single industry in the state’s history – a tax of $275 million a year, which is equal to a 9-cent per gallon gas-tax increase on Washington drivers if the cost is fully passed on to consumers.

“The real world impact of Governor Gregoire’s proposal targeting one industry for a massive tax increase is that oil refineries might shut down here and be replaced by refined gas products from other nations. If this misguided proposal becomes law, there is a very real danger that our state would go from being a net exporter of fuel products to being a net importer of fuel. This would be devastating to our economy.

“In addition, contrary to how she framed her proposal – as a jobs package – taxing Washington oil refineries puts blue-collar jobs in rural Washington at risk. Her proposal will erode the refineries’ bottom lines as they try to compete with cheaper oil coming from outside our borders.

“It is frustrating that while she praised the results of tax breaks for Boeing and applauded Microsoft in her speech – employers with profit margins exceeding those of our refineries – she offers a plan that threatens the livelihood of blue-collar workers and the economic health of the communities where these workers live.”