Gas Tax Package Negotiations Continue In Washington

By Austin Jenkins

Negotiations continue over a proposed gas tax package in Washington. It’s a top priority of Democratic Governor Jay Inslee and the Boeing company as it decides where to site the 777X assembly line.

Now that Boeing machinists have rejected a company contract offer, Washington will have to compete with other states to land the 777X. Inslee says approval of a transportation funding measure is essential to positioning the state well.

Jay Inslee: “This should sharpen legislators’ attention for the need to accomplish a bipartisan transportation package.”

Key lawmakers and the governor’s staff continue to meet behind closed doors to try to hammer out a deal. The House and Senate have competing proposals. Among the issues to resolve: how big should the gas tax increase be? House Democrats proposed 10-cents per gallon last April. The mostly Republican Senate majority has offered up 11-and-a-half cents. But the Senate has also proposed to route sales tax paid on road projects back into transportation coffers, not the state general fund. 

Historically Democrats have argued that would take money from schools and social services. Inslee continues to push for a legislative vote before the end of the year. Lawmakers are sending signals that early next year is more likely.

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