Jay Inslee and members of his own party have been getting in the ring quite a lot lately, with Inslee on the receiving end of most knockout punches. Much of the tension is driven by Inslee’s extreme political agenda—intermingled with his failure to lead. Today, SHIFT is taking you three rounds of Democrats vs. Inslee.
Round One: Inslee vs. Carlyle
Last week, Inslee’s “I’ll support you if you support me” governing-style drew criticism from top state Democrats. Our green governor—who supposedly vehemently opposes tax “loopholes”—wants to extend sales tax breaks for electric vehicles and explore giving electric car owner access to carpool lanes. As SHIFT recently reported, the perks best serve Inslee’s million friends and leave working families out in the cold.
Democrat state Rep. Reuven Carlyle, House Finance Committee chair, agrees. Carlyle responded to Inslee’s plans by saying, “I’m not enthusiastic about a subsidy that picks winners and losers and doesn’t help the middle class.” In a Facebook post, Carlyle also points to the unclear “marginal benefit” of the tax break in increasing the sales of electric cars.
Winner: We’re calling this one for Carlyle, given Inslee’s hypocrisy and opposition to working families.
Round Two: Inslee vs. Hunter
Inslee isn’t one to oppose the objectives of major campaign donors—no matter how damaging said objectives are to Washington State. So, when the Washington Education Association (WEA) decided to push its latest power-grab, Initiative 1351, Inslee refused say whether or not he would support it. Brave leader that he is, Inslee remained silent until it was too late to make a difference either way.
But, not all Democrats agreed with Inslee’s decision to remain silent on a major party supporter’s budget busting initiative. Democrat state Rep. Ross Hunter, chair of the House Appropriations Committee, publically opposed I-1351. Hunter said, “In the short run, I don’t know how to pay for it and so I’m not supporting it.” He also said, “I don’t know how you fund McCleary and 1351.”
Winner: We’re calling this one for Hunter. Inslee’s silence may have helped his campaign donors, given that WEA’s power grab passed and placed Hunter (and the Legislature) in the position of figuring out just what to do with I-1351 given pressing budget priorities. But, we have a feeling the outcome will not work out to Inslee’s benefit.
Round Three: Inslee vs. Labor
Jay Inslee really wants state government bureaucrats to tell Washingtonians what kind of car to drive and what kind of fuel they put in said car. His favored method of doing so is to jam through a fuel mandate — a preference he tipped off last year when he signed a pact with California, Oregon and British Columbia to enact a low carbon fuel standard, without any consultation with the Legislature. Inslee’s fuel mandate will have virtually no impacton reducing global carbon emissions, yet it will likely cost working families an additional $1 plus in gas prices. And, by every indication, Inslee is not opposed to bypassing the legislative process in order to achieve his feel-good green goal.
A labor activist and spokesman recently wrote an editorial published in Seattle Times in which he asked, “Why is the governor also considering implementing a low-carbon fuel standard by executive order before the end of the year? Is an executive order the best approach before knowing all the facts?”
The editorialist takes Inslee to task for threatening to overreach his powers, warning that “anything with the potential to adversely affect jobs deserves a broader, more thorough discussion.” The labor activist points out the Inslee’s “executive order could raise prices at the pump anywhere from 13 cents a gallon to $1.50.” The hike in Washington’s fuel prices (already among the highest in the nation) would, in turn, ultimately affect every sector of our state’s economy—threatening to move jobs out-of-state and overseas.
Winner: We’re calling this one for the labor spokesman. The damage Inslee’s fuel mandate will inflict on Washington’s economy and working families’ pocketbooks with virtually no impact on carbon emissions is not worth Inslee earning the title of our nation’s greenest governor.