Oregon Government Letter Asks Washington to Remove Tax on Fuel Exports | Washington
(The Center Square) – Oregon has sent another warning to Washington over the proposed export fuel tax.
“Don’t pit Oregon against Washington,” concluded a Friday letter co-signed by Oregon Governor Kate Brown and top leaders of both parties in the Oregon House and Senate. “Remove export fuel tax from your transportation package.”
The proposed 6-cent-per-gallon export fuel tax is part of a $16 billion transportation package currently being crafted by the Washington Legislature.
The funding portion of this package was passed by the State Senate. The House Transportation Committee voted to keep the tax, delay its implementation, and issue a recommendation to pass it to the full House.
Washington has several fuel refineries, but neighboring Oregon and Idaho do not. Alaska only has one. This means that much of the refined fuel used in these states comes from Washington.
Many politicians in Washington want to tax this, and Governor Jay Inslee has not opposed it so far.
“The governor continues to express strong support for what state lawmakers have proposed, which provides the most climate-friendly investments in state history,” Mike Faulk told The Center Square on Tuesday. , deputy head of communications for the Inslee office. “Sources of funding are always a matter of debate, and this plan is no different. The governor hopes lawmakers will deliver this to his desk, and he plans to sign it.
The Idaho State House passed a resolution asking the Washington Legislature not to act on it, which was read in part on Tuesday when the House committee considered the legislation.
That same day, a member of the Alaska legislature introduced retaliatory legislation, which would tax fish shipped to Washington and increase the costs of docking Washington boats in Alaskan ports.
The letter from Oregon‘s political leaders warned that such a tax would be “punitive and destabilizing,” and also referred to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could cause gas prices to skyrocket,” the letter said. “The price of American oil is already on the rise. Raising the fuel tax at this vulnerable time will ultimately punish middle and working class Oregonians.
The Oregon government has pledged not to drop this.
“If this export tax progresses, not only will relations between our states be strained, but we will both be caught up in long and costly legal battles,” the letter warns. “For you in Washington, that means stalled progress on the exact projects funded by this bill — including likely missing out on the huge opportunity to apply for the Mega Projects grant in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. (IIJA) for the Interstate Bridge.”
The Interstate Bridge is part of Interstate 5 which spans the Columbia River and connects the two states. Washington and Oregon have been trying to find the funds to replace it since 2005.