By Jerry Cornfield
It is all quiet on the transportation funding front after Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee and Republican Sen. Curtis King exchanged accusations in strongly worded letters last week.
King, the Republicans’ lead negotiator on a possible funding package, called on Inslee earlier this month to come clean of his intentions regarding a possible new fuel standard that might affect the price of gasoline. King said concern among lawmakers about the governor’s plans was impeding talks on a deal.
Inslee responded in writing Thursday saying he “never proposed, nor discussed proposing, a “carbon fuel tax.” I have discussed a low carbon fuel standard as a mechanism to develop cleaner fuels for our state. There is no element of a clean fuels standard that could in any way be called a “tax.” That you choose to call it a tax suggests that this effort is more about fear mongering or excuses for inaction” on the package.
King replied the next day. He said no matter how the governor sought to bring about the use of cleaner fuel “it is going to have a negative impact (drive up) on the cost of fuel.”
King said of the allegation he was “fear-mongering” by talking about the subject, he wrote:
The ‘carbon fuel tax’ question was raised by the media and posed to all of the chairs at a media event last week. All of us agreed that the uncertainty posed by this issue made a transportation revenue package more difficult.
He went on to write:
The fact that the chairs and ranking members of both the House and Senate Transportation Committees publically expressed concerns about the impact of your proposed policies demonstrates that the concerns are well-founded and non-political.
King ends his letter with an offer to Inslee to agree to make sure any new fuel standard he desires is approved by lawmakers before it is implemented.
As of Tuesday morning, the governor had not responded, in writing, to the offer.