Gas Tax Revolt in Washington State?

July 12, 2005

In Washington State—where direct democracy through ballot initiatives has become a political force to be reckoned with in recent years—a voter initiative is gaining momentum to overturn a recent 9.5¢ gasoline tax increase. From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

It’s looking like voters will decide the fate of the largest transportation tax package in state history. At issue is the Legislature’s 9.5-cent-a-gallon gas tax increase that lawmakers plan to add in four stages.

I-912, if it wins a spot on the November ballot, directly challenges the Legislature’s decision to raise the state’s 28-cents-a-gallon gas tax by 9.5 cents over the next four years. The money is the linchpin of a 16-year, $8.5 billion transportation program.

Legislators and the governor fear that safety and capacity improvements will fall victim to a tax revolt.

Currently Washington’s gas tax is 3rd highest in the nation, behind only Wisconsin and Rhode Island. Given that the 9.5¢ per gallon increase would give Washington the highest gas tax in the nation, it’s no surprise voters are pushing back against the increase. Read more about the bitter politics of Washington State’s gas-tax battle here.

Update: Ironman at Political Calculations has created a handy Java script calculator to help Washingtonians estimate the impact of the planned gas tax increase on their budgets.

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