The state Senate passed a much needed, bi-partisan, three-years-in-the-making transportation package yesterday on a 27 to 22 vote. As Shift has reported, the transportation package includes some aspects with which both sides do not particularly agree… it is, after all a compromise plan. Unfortunately, many Democrats continue to struggle to understand the meaning of “compromise.”
Key Republican reforms, policies that would eliminate waste and protect taxpayer money, have been labeled by the Far Left as unacceptable. A Republican consumer protection provision, which would discourage Jay Inslee from imposing a gas-price raising fuel mandate by executive order, has been labeled a “poison pill” by the extreme environmentalist crowd.
These provisions—and not getting their way on every point—dissuaded many Democrats from voting for the package. But, the Republican-backed reforms were not the only reasons Democrats cast their “no” votes. In fact, as Yogi Berra once said, it was a case of “déjà vu all over again.”
Last year, former Democrat Sen. Tracey Eide, then co-chair of the Transportation Committee, killed a transportation bill presented by the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus. Eide actually admitted to preventing the transportation bill from coming to a vote because she needed “leverage” for her own package, which involved raising taxes to fund new road, transit and pedestrian projects without any reforms to the Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT). She publically announced, “I get a package, [then] we’ll hear reforms… It’s the only leverage I have.”
This year, Democrat Sen. Bob Hasegawa echoed Eide’s comments. Hasegawa responded to questions concerning Democrats’ vote with a telling admission. He said, “We’re not even halfway through this legislative session now. If we let the transportation package go, I’m afraid we’re going to lose our leverage to get a good operating budget out as well.”
In other words, like Eide in 2014, Hasegawa wants Democrats to use a transportation package as leverage for their tax-raising agenda, even though the state has $3 billion more to spend in the current budget than it has in the current one. Effectively, Hasegawa wants to hold a needed transportation package hostage to Democrats’ demands for a capital gains income tax and Inslee’s cap-and-tax program. With no regard to commuters and businesses depending on reliable transportation improvements, and with even less no regard for taxpayers, Hasegawa’s nonchalant promotion of a hostage situation reveals just how out-of-touch Democrats in Washington State have become.