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WA Rep: Democrats’ gas taxes could be ‘rammed through this year’

State lawmakers continue to search for a replacement for the gas tax. (Photo Illustration by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Washington Democrats are pushing to raise gas taxes, with the potential for an additional fee that could have people paying up to a dollar per gallon. State Rep Andrew Barkis (R-Olympia) is not a fan and finds the timing of the tax to be poor as people are struggling amidst lockdowns.

“We’re currently, I think, number four in the country at almost 50 cents a gallon on state tax, not including the federal tax, and this is another 18 cents on top of that,” Barkis told the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. “They justify it by the need of the revenue for the continuing transportation arena. Transportation is a big thing. I’ve been working the budget for last couple of years. We have seen some decline in revenue.”

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“We’ve seen the state grow, we have a maintenance and preservation issue, we have a lot of things, but there is another way we could go about doing that,” he added. “And that is maybe doing the budget a little differently, prioritizing and changing and working within our means, not adding another tax on top of what we’re already doing, especially right now in this current environment that we’re living in, in the state of Washington.”

Barkis says this was pushed forward without much bipartisan collaboration, and the nature of the bill means it has a chance of going through.

“I have a great relationship with the chair and we worked and passed some good budgets the last couple years. This is different,” he said. “They really struck out on their own. This was all done without any kind of bipartisan collaboration on the lead up to this; as a matter of fact, it was just kind of dropped, and then here it was, and I was doing scramble research yesterday.”

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“The problem is there’s no bonding component — which is a good thing, that’s no more debt to the state of Washington — but without that bond, it does not require the two thirds vote of the House of Representatives,” Barkis explained. “It’s a simple majority, and we all know that they have the majority, so I would hate to think it, but it could be rammed through this year, just like all these other taxes we’re seeing.”

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3 – 6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here.

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