STATEMENT: New revenue forecast has Republican leaders asking why majority still refuses to support inflation relief

OLYMPIA… Senate Republican Leader John Braun and Sen. Lynda Wilson, Republican budget leader, say the positive state revenue forecast released today supports their continued call for inflation relief for Washington families.

The second quarterly revenue forecast for 2022 shows an increase of $2.7 billion over state government’s four-year budget outlook – specifically $1.55 billion for the 2021-23 budget cycle, which reaches its midpoint June 30, and $1.11 billion for the 2023-25 biennium. It was adopted by the state’s Economic and Revenue Forecast Council during a meeting at the Capitol this morning.

From Senator Wilson, R-Vancouver and ERFC member:

“The people of Washington have endured an awful lot of government greed since Olympia fell back under one-party rule several years ago, but what we’ve seen this year is at a different level. Despite a 15-billion-dollar surplus, the budget passed by the majority in March did nothing to offer direct financial relief to families. It didn’t matter that inflation was already at a 40-year high and gas prices were well on their way to the records seen in the past month. Let’s remember also how Democrats not only opposed our bill to reduce property taxes, but even blocked Republican legislation to make diapers tax-free and backtracked on their own modest offer to allow free entry to state parks and fairs.

“As there’s no end in sight for this wave of inflation, why won’t the majority join with Republicans to get some dollars back into the hands of families – starting with a suspension of the gas tax? The trouble is, I see no signs of empathy from our Democratic colleagues for the financial struggles many of their constituents are experiencing.”

From Senator Braun, R-Centralia:

“It’s ridiculous for the Legislature to be sitting on a growing mountain of cash while families across our state are struggling to afford the basics and watching their buying power shrink because of inflation.

“I’ll say it again: Our Legislature should meet now to suspend the state gas tax for the rest of this year. The proposal Senate Republicans put on the table during the legislative session is still viable and would immediately lower the price at the pump by almost 50 cents. The governor has chosen to attack our plan by spreading disinformation. He falsely claims it would mean more profit for oil companies and jeopardize state transportation projects. Either he doesn’t understand the details of the legislation or he is willfully misleading the people.

“The Democratic governor in New York has just made a modest reduction in her state’s gas taxes. California’s Democratic governor has proposed a gas-tax rebate. Today the Biden administration proposed a gas-tax holiday. Unfortunately, Governor Inslee is still holding firm against the working people and lower-income people in Washington who see a greater share of their incomes lost to the state gas tax – and the members of the current legislative majority seem to be in lockstep with his no-relief attitude.”