Normally I’m not a big fan of asking voters to do the legislature’s job, but I’m beginning to think that the transportation funding package currently under negotiation should be an exception. Governor Inslee had creatively proposed funding transportation improvements with a carbon tax, whereas the Republican-controlled senate prefers a good old fashioned regressive gas tax hike. (Not that most of their members will vote for it—they just want revenue-desperate Democrats to do their dirty work for them.) So why not put that choice before voters?
Whatever sucky transportation package Democrats ultimately sign on to—and it almost certainly will be sucky, because I just don’t believe that Democrats collectively have the balls to stand up in defense of labor, the environment, and transit—should be sent to voters with two options: A) a gas tax hike, or B) a carbon tax. If we really want to take all the partisan ideology out of the debate—as the editorialists disingenuously insist we should—then just let voters decide.
We’re the ones who will be paying the tax, either directly or through higher prices for goods and services from carbon intensive industries. So let us tell legislators which tax we truly prefer. Political problem solved.
But then, Republicans have never much been into solving political problems, so I’m guessing my constructive input will be once again ignored.