Gov. Inslee and the Democrats started advocating for tax increases right away last December. Despite that, I believe some excellent results came out of this year’s legislative session in Olympia. Without any major tax increases, the Republicans were able to cut tuition for thousands of college students while also funding treatment for mental illness and adding $1.3 billion for K-12 education, meeting the McCleary ruling. They did not add a capital gains tax, a carbon tax, or a bottled water tax. And they provided a cost-of-living adjustment for teachers and state employees.
The conservatives were not able to head off what I believe to be a truly unfortunate increase in the gas tax, although they tried. This will be the highest gas tax in Washington state history. Drivers in our state will pay almost 68 cents (state and federal) per gallon, one of the highest in the nation. Over the next 16 years, we’ll pay $96 million more in gas taxes than we get back in projects, a really bad deal for Whatcom County.