Oregon Gov. Kate Brown. (Beth Nakamura/The Oregonian via AP)

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown. (Beth Nakamura/The Oregonian via AP)

After losing temper, Sen. Liias apologizes to Oregon governor

The Everett Democrat said Gov. Kate Brown “is living in fantasyland” in response to her criticism of a proposed tax on exported fuel.

OLYMPIA — State Sen. Marko Liias has apologized to Oregon Gov. Kate Brown for disparaging her in a radio interview Thursday.

“I lost my temper … and made some intemperate and disrespectful remarks,” the Everett Democrat wrote in an email to the governor Thursday night.

Brown, also a Democrat, opposes a 6 cent tax on exported fuel that is proposed in Washington Democrats’ $16 billion transportation package. Most of Oregon’s fuel comes from Washington, making it likely Oregon drivers will see the increase at the pump.

“Let me be clear: Oregon will not stand for taxation levied by Washington leaders with no consultation with our state government, our business community or our residents,” she wrote in a Seattle Times guest column on Tuesday. A few days earlier, Brown tweeted that she told Washington Gov. Jay Inslee the tax is “unacceptable.”

Liias, an author of that transportation package, took aim at Brown when the subject arose midway through the radio interview.

Marko Liias

Marko Liias

“The fact that she dares say a word is just a joke,” he told host John Carlson on KVI radio in Seattle.

Washington residents who work in Oregon pay that state’s income tax, which adds up to $300 million a year, Liias said.

“Her state basically lives off Washington state residents,” he said. “This governor down in Oregon is living in fantasyland. She is in the last few months of her term. She is losing relevance.”

Liias penned the apology a short time later.

“It is too easy in politics to get upset and say unkind things, and much too difficult to express regret,” Liias wrote. “Governor Brown has been a wonderful partner with Washington on so many issues, I am sorry my words clouded that proud record.

“Moving forward, I plan to stick to the merits of our transportation proposal and leave the interstate dimensions to cooler heads and wiser voices,” he concluded.

Liias also apologized on the Washington Senate floor Friday.

“I deeply regret those comments,” he said. “I know better. I will do better.”

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @dospueblos.

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