It didn’t take long for Democrat state Rep. Judy Clibborn—chair of the House Transportation Committee—to back down from her criticism of Jay Inslee’s budget proposal, particularly his plans for a cap-and-tax. Last week, Clibborn called Inslee’s cap-and-tax scheme a “non-starter.” She went on to express concern that Inslee’s plan would hurt lawmakers’ ability to pass a transportation bill—something Republicans and Democrats have been working to create for two years.
The next day, following Inslee’s State of the State address, Clibborn backtracked on her remarks. She issued the following statement,
“I appreciate the Governor’s forward-thinking remarks today about the critical need to pass a transportation investment package. The new funding mechanisms he has proposed, such as a cap-and-trade-system or a tax on carbon emissions, deserve serious consideration by members of the legislature.
These tools should be part of our discussions moving forward as we work to reduce traffic congestion and create jobs across Washington state. The goal for this session must be to pass a fully-funded revenue package, and all options need to be on the table.
Within a matter of a day, Clibborn’s “non-starter” became a “tool” for the Legislature to use as a part of discussions moving forward. This quick about-face reminds us of the time former Sen. Tracey Eide referred to Inslee’s fuel mandate as a “carbon fuel tax” that would hurt the chances of passing a transportation package. Then, presumably after receiving backlash from her fellow Democrats, Eide declared she would hold needed transportation reforms hostage to a gas tax.
Apparently, it doesn’t take long for Democrat legislators who tell the truth and publically criticize our green governor to succumb to pressure—presumably from the governor’s office—and backtrack on their statements.