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Mon November 18, 2013
Gas Tax Package Negotiations Continue in Olympia
State lawmakers are negotiating a proposed gas tax package, a top priority of Gov. 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.
“This should sharpen legislators’ attention for the need to accomplish a bipartisan transportation package,” Inslee said.
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 is just how much the gas tax increase should be.
House Democrats proposed 10-cents per gallon last April. The mostly-Republican Senate majority has offered up 11.5 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 the move would take money from schools and social services. Inslee is pushing for a legislative vote before the end of the year, but lawmakers have signaled that early next year is more likely.