Earlier this week, Jay Inslee was caught in a rather awkward lie concerning a certain oil refinery project in Longview, Washington. His efforts to excuse away his lie have only managed to make a bad situation worse.
In the end, the incident only adds to the growing evidence that Inslee has trouble telling the truth. It may be impolite to say, but Inslee has demonstrated he will lie when it suits his purposes. Plenty of evidence exists to support the indictment. This Throw Back Thursday, we’re taking a look back on what is perhaps Inslee’s biggest lie: his no-new-taxes campaign pledge.
Inslee made a lot of promises during his gubernatorial bid. Arguably, his most weighty promise was that, as governor, he would not raise taxes. Here’s what he said then:
- “Under my plan, it should not be necessary to address that issue because on my plan we’re not going to request additional taxes.”
- “I would veto anything that heads the wrong direction and the wrong direction is new taxes in the state of Washington.”
- “And I don’t believe that tax increases are the right, uh, route forward for our state.”
Yet despite all his promises, Inslee has proposed new taxes in each of his three legislative sessions since taking office, including the historic $1.4 billion increase he asked for last December. During the legislative cycle, Inslee went as far as to threaten to veto any budget that does not raise taxes during closed door meetings with lawmakers.
Inslee’s leap from his no-new-taxes pledge to threatening to veto any budget that does not raise taxes is extreme. The question of how someone takes the extreme leap naturally arises. Given that new taxes are not needed to fulfill our state’s funding obligations, there is one logical conclusion: Inslee did not take a leap. He lied.
It was always Inslee’s intention to raise taxes. As one of Inslee’s campaign interns admitted during his gubernatorial bid, “You don’t win on a platform of raising taxes, you win and then do it anyway.” And, that’s just what Inslee has done.
Inslee had a lame excuse for his big lie, an excuse he delivered on KIRO Radio’s The Dori Monson Show. Monson kicked off an interview with Inslee by playing him a clip of what he promised as a gubernatorial candidate. Back in 2012, Monson asked candidate Inslee, “Do you pledge to my listeners that as governor you will not raise taxes or support tax increases in this state.” Candidate Inslee answered, “My plan is very specific, it does not propose or support tax increases, in general taxes.”
Monson pointed out that candidate Inslee pledged no new taxes, yet Governor Inslee proposed over $1.4 billion in new taxes. He asked Inslee, “Did you lie to me and my listeners two years ago?” Despite the simple facts presented, Inslee denied that he lied. He responded, “No… I did exactly what I said I was going to do.”
Inslee—steering the subject away from Monson’s pointed question—offered the state’s job growth, efficiencies in state government and the closure of tax “loopholes” as evidence. He went on to accuse the state Legislature of failing to close his “loopholes.” According to Inslee, it’s that failure that brought about the state Supreme Court’s contempt ruling last fall and forced him to introduce historic taxes.
At the time, Monson informed Inslee that he does have enough money—due to the fact that the state to collect an unprecedented amount of state revenue, even adjusted for inflation—to meet the funding requirements of the McCleary decision. And, our green governor was forced to concede that revenues are going up.
Never mind the fact that Inslee’s lied about the success of his efficiencies program (David Schumacher, director of OFM, warned lawmakers that it is “not very realistic” to expect any significant savings). Or, that he misleadingly blamed Republicans for “tax loopholes” (Democrats have proposed a whopping 86 percent of them). The bigger point is that now we know the state can count on even more revenue than originally projected. Yet, that fact has not deterred Inslee from pushing for new, highly unnecessary taxes.
Inslee has backed away from his push for a whopping 1.4 billion in new taxes, but he hasn’t withdrawn his support altogether. Though, taking his cue from state House Democrats who won’t vote on their tax proposals, he refuses to say how much he wants to raise taxes by.
In three weeks, if lawmakers do not pass a budget, the state government will shutdown. In order to avoid a state government shutdown, Inslee and House Democrats must realize their tax increases are unnecessary. They must work with Senate Republicans to pass a sustainable and balanced state budget. That means a no-new-taxes budget.
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