Jay Inslee appeared on Seattle Channel’s Civic Cocktail program earlier this week… where he lied multiple times. At one point, Crosscut’s John Stang challenged Inslee on his cap-and-tax scheme, pointing out that it was dead in the state Legislature then asking how he would modify the plan in order to gain traction during the next legislative session. Ignoring the crux of the question, Inslee responded by insisting his cap-and-tax scheme already has support with two groups: “the people of the state of Washington” and state House Democrats.
Inslee justified his claim that Washingtonians support his cap-and-tax scheme by referring to a highly flawed survey of Puget Sound region voters. The survey found that 63% support “reducing greenhouse gases by taxing those who release the most pollutants into the air.” Importantly, the survey did not use the common labels of “cap-and-trade” or “cap-and-tax.” The survey also found that only a mere 3 in 10 people support raising the gas tax. See the discrepancy?
Voters would support policies that target greenhouse gas emissions when the expense in on those who “release the most pollutants in the air,” not when they must bear the expense themselves. And, from what experts predict, we know working families would bear a heavier cost burden as a result of Inslee’s cap-and-tax scheme.
Interestingly enough, in his response to Stang’s question, Inslee insists that his cap-and-tax scheme would charge the biggest polluters. His re-iterates the point that it would not impact drivers, nor does he intend to have drivers pay more. Besides the fact that his claim is not true, a relevant follow-up question would be to ask Inslee why he is then insisting on a fuel mandate that would—according to his own consultants—raise the price of gas by up to $1 or more per gallon.
Our green governor went on to claim that his cap-and-tax scheme has the support of state House Democrats. And, that the only group standing in the way of his scheme is state Senate Republicans. That is simply not true.
Republicans are not the only obstacle to Inslee’s cap-and-tax scheme. The reality is that Inslee’s plan did not even have enough support to pass the Democrat-controlled state House. As Shift reported, Inslee’s cap-and-tax bill only garnered 37 co-sponsors (all Democrats) in the House. The lack of majority co-sponsors was a testament to the lack of support—he needs 50 votes—the policy had among Democrats who were worried about the policy’s economic impacts. More, Inslee knew his cap-and-tax scheme did not have the support of many members of his party. That’s why he refused to defend his policy—what he labeled a “moral obligation”—before the House Environment Committee though he would have received an overwhelming sympathetic acceptance by Democrat members.
The reality is that GOP Sen. Doug Ericksen, chair of the Senate Energy, Environment and Telecommunications Committee, promised to give Inslee’s cap-and-tax bill a hearing if it reached the Senate. The problem was that the Democrat-controlled state House did not even bother to bring the cap-and-tax scheme to a vote.
When Stang challenged Inslee on his claim that he has House Democrats’ support by pointing out there was no floor vote on the cap-and-tax scheme, Inslee merely insisted that he has the votes. Then, he lamely went on to say that House Democrats decided not to vote on “any revenue options” because Senate Republicans would not support them. Apparently, that’s what House Democrats told Inslee in order to help him save face and appease him… and Inslee’s sticking to it.