Rep. Klicker: We must stand up against harmful legislation

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The first three weeks of the 2021 session have been absolutely head spinning, especially because this session could have major ramifications now and for years to come.

We are working on several significant issues that affect our entire state. Too many people are still waiting for real relief from the pandemic and the governor's subsequent shutdowns. Unfortunately, many of the proposed policies being driven by the governor, and the majority party in the Legislature, have the potential to hurt Washingtonians further, instead of providing any real help.

In fact, some of the legislation already proposed could create major economic hardship for our elderly, many minorities, the working poor, and the countless small businesses that drive the economy.

Getting families and struggling businesses back on their feet is a big enough challenge, but we are also facing some major climate change legislation that would greatly impact the way we live.

The majority party has introduced several climate change bills with the goal to be carbon free by 2050. Do not get me wrong, it is a noble cause. We would all like to have a cleaner planet and improve our environment. However, the legislation in front of us now is truly mind boggling. It would be economically devastating to say the least.

House Bills 1091, 1084, and 1099 are intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from our vehicles, and residential and commercial buildings, through decarbonization. While the goal is a good one, the results are not. None of these efforts would truly resolve the issue. Taxing carbon emissions does not reduce the output. However, it would create more unnecessary burdens for families and businesses.

Democrats are not done yet, as they also want you to pay more at the pump. Their transportation proposal would raise the gas tax by 18 cents over the next biennium. Combined with the proposed low-carbon fuel standard bills, and the current state and federal taxes, Washington state would have the highest gas tax in the nation. To put it another way, the first dollar of every gallon you pump, would go to the government!

These proposals would hurt our state's struggling economy. Not only that, if passed, they would also hurt so many people who are already struggling the most from the pandemic. We must stop this legislation in it tracks!

I have been diligently researching and working with staff to introduce legislation that allows an employer to rehire laid off employees while the employees can still utilize unemployment insurance assistance and be paid the balance from the employer. This idea has similar functions as the current “Work Share” program, but unfortunately it is different enough that it may not make the cut. But I will continue to look for real solutions that help all Washingtonians.

My fellow Republicans have already introduced and proposed solutions that work for everyone. We know Washingtonians need real recovery. While many families and businesses are still in crisis, state government is not. The Legislature can pass an operating budget that is balanced, funds state priorities, and avoids cuts to critical services – all without raising taxes or hampering our recovery.

Now is not the time to raise taxes. Instead, now is time to stand up for real solutions, real progress, and real recovery.

As printed in the Dayton Chronicle and the Prosser Record-Bulletin

State Representative Mark Klicker, 16th Legislative District
410 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7836 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000