Accusation that economist was told to lie about projected gas price increase ‘very disturbing,’ says Braun

Dec 1, 2023

WSDOT actions latest example of executive mismanagement, lack of accountability

OLYMPIA…Senate Republican Leader John Braun, R-Centralia, offered the following comments in reaction to a KING-TV story about a lawsuit that reportedly will be filed soon on behalf of a former employee of the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT).

The employee, an economist and formerly a top staffer at WSDOT, claims he was pressured by the Office of Financial Management (OFM) and WSDOT to lie about how much gas prices would increase resulting from the “cap-and-tax” carbon credit program, then was forced out of his job for refusing to comply. His projection for the increase was 45 to 50 cents per gallon, which has turned out to be accurate.

“It’s very disturbing to hear that executive agencies under the governor’s oversight are pushing staff to misrepresent facts and figures. This is especially upsetting if it was done to hide the full impact of the governor’s ‘Climate Commitment Act’ and manipulate the people of Washington into accepting the spike in gas prices without knowing the true cause. The projections by the state employee who is at the center of this lawsuit have been proven to be correct — not because oil companies or gas station owners got greedy, but because the state of Washington did.

“Throughout Jay Inslee’s terms as governor, we have seen repeated evidence of serious mismanagement of his agencies. This includes the Department of Corrections, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Children, Youth and Families, and the Department of Transportation – just to name several. This is also not the first time the governor and his agencies have tried to obfuscate the truth.

“Washingtonians deserve better. They deserve transparency and accountability. No wonder trust in government is at an all-time low. At the same time this employee was being told to change his figures, and subsequently being pushed out of his job for refusing to do so, the governor and legislative Democrats were calling upon oil companies for radical transparency. Instead, they should have been radically transparent with the people about the effects of ‘cap-and-tax’ their own experts correctly projected.”

In His Own Words

Gov. Inslee says the “cap-and-tax” program will cost “pennies.”

Gov. Inslee says the “cap-and-tax” program may lower gas prices.