OLYMPIA…Legislative Republican leaders issued the following statement in response to the $16 billion transportation package released this week by majority Democrats.
The plan was developed without input from Republicans.
“The Democrats’ plan is disappointing, not so much because of what it would do but because of how they want to pay for it. Even though the chair of the Senate Transportation Committee said the plan does not include an increase in the gas tax because he didn’t want to ask people to pay more while they are struggling financially, the plan includes a 6-cent tax on fuel exported to other states with a lower gas tax than ours. It remains to be seen how our refineries will handle that and it very well could be passed along to Washingtonians. Also, the plan would cost people more in many other ways.”
The plan includes:
- increasing fees for an enhanced driver’s license by 75%;
- increasing fees for a state identification card by 75%;
- increasing fees for vehicle license plates by 500%;
- increasing fees for motorcycle plates by 500%;
- increasing fees for a new photo for a driver’s license or ID card by 100%;
- a potential 2% tax increase on heating homes with natural gas;
- a potential 2% tax increase on telephone landlines; and,
- a potential increase in the state sales tax by another tenth of a cent.
“How is this not asking people to pay more? This package would add regressive fees upon potential taxes that are absolutely regressive.
“Republicans offered transportation-funding ideas that would not cost people anything more, starting with the redirection of our current vehicle sales tax to transportation projects. It’s disappointing that the transportation leaders chose to ignore those ideas and, instead, want to increase fees we will all pay.
“Funding methods aside, this transportation package includes many projects we can support, and there’s room for negotiation if majority Democrats are willing to include voices other than their own in the process. It may take more effort to do that, but a truly bipartisan approach is the best path.”
The proposed plan will be heard at 8 a.m. Thursday in the Senate Transportation Committee. Learn how to testify on the plan.