(The Center Square) – The proposed Washington 6-cents per gallon export fuel tax has garnered a great deal of opposition from the states that it would affect the most, but Washington Gov. Jay Inslee continues to advocate for the legislation that it is a part of and will sign it.
"The governor continues to express his strong support of what state legislators have proposed, which provides the most climate-friendly investments in state history,” Mike Faulk, deputy communications officer for Inslee’s office, told The Center Square Tuesday. "Funding sources are always a point of debate, and this plan is no different. The governor hopes legislators deliver this to his desk, and he plans to sign it."
Faulk said that on the same day as Oregon, Idaho and Alaska offered significant protest, with threats of lawsuits and worse to come.
“If Washington leaders are advancing a policy that impacts the working families on our side of the river without benefit, I expect, at the very least, the common courtesy of a phone call,” wrote Oregon Gov. Kate Brown in an op-ed published by the Seattle Times.
She continued, “Unfortunately, no one in Washington state consulted with me or my office before bringing forward the shortsighted tax increase on fuel exported to Oregon, Alaska and Idaho. In Oregon, more than 90% of our fuel is refined in Washington. A tax increase of even a few cents could place an unreasonable burden on Oregonians, who are already facing the same pain at the gas pump as people in Washington.”
Brown warned that “Oregon will not stand for taxation levied by Washington leaders with no consultation with our state government, our business community or our residents” and predicted that “if Washington moves forward with implementing this proposal, legal challenges will undoubtedly be brought forward.”
On the same day as Brown’s op-ed ran, the Idaho state House passed a resolution that was read, in part, in the Washington state House Transportation Committee as it considered the export fuel tax.
The resolution urged the Washington state government not to do this, asked Inslee to veto it, and promised the Idaho Legislature “will take any and all actions necessary to block this new tax on the citizens of Idaho, who should never be subject to taxation without representation.”
The resolution stated that the Idaho government wanted to avoid a “trade war” but at least one member of the Alaska Legislature had no such scruples.
The office of Alaska Rep. Kevin McCabe, R-Big Lake, confirmed to The Center Square Tuesday that he had just released two bills in protest of Washington’s proposed export fuel tax.
McCabe’s legislation, if enacted, would match Washington’s 6-cents a gallon on refined fuel exported to Alaska with a tax of 6-cents per pound of fish exported from Alaska to Washington.
One of McCabe’s bills would also create a scheme whereby Washington boats moored in Alaska harbors would have to pay 6-cents per foot of the ship's length. Alaska’s boats would have to pay the tax upfront as well, but would get it back through a tax credit.