STATEMENT: Credit for high gas prices belongs to governor’s climate policies, says Republican budget leader

VANCOUVER… The governor and Democratic lawmakers should be stepping forward and taking credit for Washington’s nation-leading gas prices instead of denying responsibility, says Sen. Lynda Wilson, R-Vancouver.

Wilson, budget leader for Senate Republicans, responded to claims made today by Gov. Jay Inslee and high-ranking Democratic state lawmakers that they will propose legislation to rein in “outrageous” profits by oil and gas companies. She offered this statement:

“It’s really something to hear the governor talk about holding anyone accountable when his own administration’s mismanagement just put our state’s taxpayers on the hook for a $100 million fine. And the Democrats sure have trouble keeping their story straight – last month one of my fellow senators was admitting how ‘incredibly expensive’ it is to produce gasoline. Today he was singing a different tune. The fact is, everything the private sector does gets more expensive when government gets involved. No one questions that land-use restrictions and other government regulations drive up the cost of housing. Why would gasoline be any different?

“As I’ve said before, anyone with the slightest grasp of economics had to know that forcing companies to buy ‘carbon allowances’ from the state would eventually hit consumers. It’s not a surprise. The truth is, the governor and my Democratic colleagues were simply less than transparent in 2021 about the obvious consequences of their carbon-pricing scheme. They knew full well how this would raise the cost of gas, which is part of the agenda to push people away from internal-combustion engines and into either electric vehicles or public transit. Now it seems they don’t want to be accountable for their intentions and their actions. Instead, they complain about oil-company profits, even though their ‘cap and gouge’ policy has made it possible for the state to do its own profiteering – like $850 million from just two auctions of carbon allowances.

“Republicans recognize the financial hardships families are facing, between fuel and other energy costs, the cost of housing, and the new payroll tax. We will continue working to control and lower the cost of living in our state. In the meantime, Governor Inslee and the Democratic majority need to own what they’ve done to increase gas prices, even if it makes them unpopular.”