GOP Leaders Accuse Gov. Inslee of Violating “Confidentiality” Agreement on Budget
Legislators said Inslee broke agreements to keep confidentiality over transportation budget negotiations by trashing GOP leaders after the legislature wrapped up it's work last Friday.
Inslee was quoted as voicing dismay over the failure for the second session in a row to pass a long-term transportation budget that would address many infrastructure issues and other needs.
Inslee said, according to the Spokesman Review newspaper:
“If excuses were money, the Majority Coalition would be multimillionaires,” Inslee said. “You can’t fix your roads with excuses.”
He accused the Senate Coalition (The group of 23 GOP and 2 Democratic leaders) of not providing the leadership and compromise necessary to pass the bill. But over the weekend, GOP leaders fired back big time.
Senator Curtis King of Yakima said Inslee's comments violated a confidentiality agreement both sides agreed to when negotiating a transportation package. So much so, that GOP leaders "broke" the agreement themselves by releasing details of exactly what they and the Democrats proposed. The GOP released specific details clear back to 2013's legislative sessions, saying they repeatedly tried to meet the Democrats in the middle - only to find they and Inslee roadblocked numerous compromises.
Inslee denied that Republicans asked him to not use executive orders to implement low-carbon fuel taxes. But apparently that wasn't true. According to The Olympia Report:
Inslee has repeatedly insisted Republicans never asked for assurances during negotiations that he wouldn’t use executive orders to impose carbon gas taxes — which a panel appointed by the governor himself estimated could add as much as a dollar to the cost of every gallon of gas sold in Washington.
But as recently as Thursday, Sen. Linda Evans Parlette (R-Wenatchee) stated in an interview with TVW that carbon taxes were very much a consideration, and that Republicans would never agree to raise the state’s gas tax by the 10.5 or 11.5 cents a gallon needed to fund a massive transportation package until Inslee took carbon taxes off the table.
GOP leaders said Inslee failed to provide bi-partisan leadership between the two groups. Part of his job as governor is to work between the GOP and Democrats to find a way to pass difficult legislation that works for both, and Republicans said he continually sided with the Democrats.
We have included the previously "classified" transportation budget information released by the GOP in this story. You can see for yourself how the two parties went back and forth trying to find a transportation budget that the GOP said would not excessively raise gas taxes in Washington state.