Rep Doug Ericksen fighting to stop $1.2 billion tax increase on gasoline and diesel producers.
New tax would equate to 4 cents more per gallon at the pump
From recent news release found online at: http://www.houserepublicans.wa.gov/Ericksen/newsroom/090423.ht
Rep. Doug Ericksen is fighting to stop ameasure that would slap a new tax on gasoline and diesel producers. House Bill 1614 would impose $1.2 billion in higher taxes for producers over the next 10 years — costs that could be passed on to consumers through higher fuel prices.
The 42nd District lawmaker opposes the measure because he feels it would add to the financial burdens of struggling families, and ignores the will of the voters who said through Initiative 960 that any tax increase needs a two-thirds vote in the Legislature before it can advance to the governor’s desk.
“This would equate to four more cents per gallon at the pump. These costs add up and would put additional financial strains on families who are struggling to get by,” said Ericksen , R-Ferndale. “We cannot make our state’s business climate even more inhospitable. This is a bad idea at any time, but especially during rising unemployment. And it puts us closer to driving family-wage oil refinery jobs out of Whatcom County.”
Ericksen also believes House Bill 1614 sidesteps important tax increase protections installed by voters through I-960 in 2007. According to the state Department of Revenue, a tax is imposed for the purpose of raising revenue for a general governmental purpose, while a fee is imposed to regulate or cover the cost of regulating an activity. While the majority party calls it a fee, there is no regulation of petroleum that would occur as a result.
Ericksen will offer an amendment that would clarify that the legislation, in fact, represents a tax increase.
“Let’s be clear — this is a tax. This bill should not be allowed to move forward without a two-thirds vote of the Legislature. And it would not pass if it is deemed a tax,” said Ericksen . “The majority party must not ignore the will of the voters.”
House Bill 1614 would authorize a $1.50 per barrel tax on the first possession of petroleum products that contribute to storm water pollution.
The 2009 legislative session is scheduled to end Sunday, April 26.
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