OLYMPIA…Senate Republican Leader John Braun, R-Centralia, released the following comments today after the governor and legislative Democrats held a news conference to announce legislation aimed at limiting the profits of oil companies.
Braun reinforced his previous statement about what is causing Washington’s gas prices to remain the highest in the nation.
“The governor’s news conference today was a blatant attempt to scapegoat one of his favorite boogeymen, which is the oil industry. It is patently ridiculous to assume the oil companies would just absorb the hit from the governor’s ‘Cap and Gouge’ plan. The simple truth is that companies pass increases in their overhead on to their customers through higher prices – just as small business and gig workers pass along increased costs from taxes and regulations to their customers in the form of higher prices. If the oil companies really wanted to cash in, why would they choose to do so in Washington over the dozen other states that have higher populations? It’s nonsense.
“The reality is that gas prices rose to historically high levels in Washington at the same time the ‘Cap and Gouge’ began. Any new proposals that don’t deal with the carbon program won’t bring down fuel prices. Arguments to the contrary are only meant to distract the people from the core issue – Washington’s Climate Commitment Act is the cause of the highest gas prices in the nation and is disproportionately affecting those with lower incomes.
“It’s been clear for many years that Democrats push for policies that make fossil fuels more expensive as a way of forcing the people to change their behavior and not drive as much. It’s a similar concept to the soda tax, which they claimed was necessary to motivate people to drink less soda. They use taxes to manipulate public behavior.
“What I hope is now clear to Democrats is that the so-called ‘polluters’ suffering most from their policy are hard-working people and businesses who rely on their vehicles and can’t afford alternatives – or reasonable alternatives are not yet available. Working people are angry. And they have every right to be.”