State House Democrats do not like the state Senate’s bi-partisan transportation package. Particularly, Democrats and their far-left supporters are unhappy with a particular consumer protection provision they like to call a “poison pill,” hoping that people won’t actually read the Senate’s plan.
At part of compromises made to achieve a bi-partisan transportation package, Senate Republicans insisted that the package contain a consumer protection provision that works to protect Washingtonians from Jay Inslee imposing his fuel mandate by executive order. It’s the Republicans way of ensuring working families do not face a fuel price increase of $1 or more because of Inslee’s misguided fuel mandate scheme, in addition to the gas tax increase that traditionally funds the state’s transportation packages.
The consumer protection provision would pull funding from transit and other items which Inslee and his far-left environmental friends like in the transportation package if the state were to adopt a fuel mandate without bringing it to the legislature for a vote. If the mandate were adopted, “all non-bondable revenues — such as fee-based money going toward transit and bike paths — would instead be moved into the main transportation account.”
In the end, the Republican’s consumer protection provision would preserve the power to implement a policy like the fuel mandate to the members of the state Legislature. After all, a policy that would increase the price of everything from heating our homes to the cost of groceries and the price people pay at the pump for a gallon of gas should have the approval of the people’s chosen representatives.
Additionally, it would seem rational that the people’s elected representatives should be – as Senate Republicans are – protective of their constitutional roles. But, that’s not the case for House Democrats (and some ultra-liberal Senators). In fact, it appears to be quite the opposite.
Democrat Sen. Cyrus Habib—a member of the Senate transportation committee, joined a number of fellow Democrats to vote against sending the package to the floor due the consumer protection provision. Of course, in the end, the package passed the committee and the state Senate. But, not before Habib claimed that transit spending is “put at risk because of this poison pill.”
Apparently, Habib lacks confidence that Inslee would pick transit funding over his extreme green agenda. Perhaps, Habib and his fellow Democrats know just how determined Inslee is to pursue his far-left agenda even at the expense of working families. Inslee has revealed his unbalanced dedication to his agenda on more than one occasion.
Inslee has ignored scientific evidence which debunks the very claim he bases his fuel mandate on. Inslee placed his extreme policies on the 2014 ballot and although voters rejected them by electing the very Republican Senate that is now standing up against Inslee, he has refused torecognize voters’ message of rejection. Inslee has made it clear that he considers an executive order a valid means to achieve his ends— going around the elected legislature to jam through a fuel mandate that will do virtually nothing to impact global carbon emissions.
House Democrats introduced their own transportation proposal that does not include the consumer protector provision proposed by the Senate. The exclusion indicated that House Democrats are not interested in placing our state’s transportation needs ahead of their partisan interests – yet the Democrats wouldn’t even bring their proposal up for a vote, out of fear that their far-left policies would be rejected by some moderate Democrats.
Despite how Inslee may or may not react to the consumer protection measure, as Shift has stated before, the path forward is quite clear—if Democrats are willing to compromise. Lawmakers let the people—or their chosen representatives—decide on Democrats’ favored agenda items. A transportation package could be achieved if each side placed their trust in the citizens of this state. For Republicans, that means allowing Sound Transit to seek a $15 billion dollar tax increase via a ballot measure next year. For Democrats, that means accepting Republicans’ consumer protection provision that would oblige Inslee to bring his fuel mandate forward as legislation, not through an executive order.
Ultimately it will be up to Inslee to decide – does he want to see a transportation package pass, or does he want to torpedo it? Perhaps the question to ask him is if Inslee has so much faith in the correctness of his fuel mandate, why doesn’t he try to convince the voters of the state that he has the right policy solution?