Guest opinion: Thank Chapman, Tharinger for higher gas prices

Guess what’s coming to distract us from those pesky post-holiday blues? If you said 20 days of sunny skies in January or an all-inclusive Hawaiian vacation for seven million lucky Washington state residents, you’re probably wrong.

Try this: An increase of as much as 46 cents per gallon in the state gas tax. And you can thank our 24th District legislative representatives, Mike Chapman and Steve Tharinger, who voted in favor of a carbon emissions tax law that will artificially inflate the price of a gallon of gasoline.

With prices at the pump already in the stratosphere, the timing could not be worse.

The state legislature, which has been in the grip of one-party, Democrat rule for most of the past three decades, decided in its infinite tax-and-spend wisdom that a good way to fight climate change would be to tax carbon emissions, which will have a direct effect on the state’s gas tax.

If the legislature’s scheme stays intact, the state’s gas tax could nearly double next year, up from 49.4 cents per gallon today to a mind-blowing 95.4 cents.

And, by 2030, the gas tax could be an incredible $1.35 a gallon. Taxes on diesel fuel will be even higher.

Upon whom will this added tax burden fall hardest? The working poor and middle class, mostly. More money is to be eked out from already pinched family budgets just to get to and from work. Expect higher prices at the cash register as businesses raise their prices to adjust for an increase in their tax burdens.

And remember, the working poor and middle-class constituencies are the ones Democrats claim to care about most. How about this gas tax increase as an example of their talk not matching their walk?

Climate change is a clear and present danger; there’s no arguing against the science. The planet is getting hotter as human reliance on fossil fuels generates millions upon millions of tons of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses, which accumulate in the atmosphere. We do need to implement effective ways to curb fossil fuel impacts on the environment.

However, raising the gas tax on working families and businesses in the battle against carbon dioxide emissions is not a wise solution. It’s being done as part of a social engineering effort to force us into driving electric cars.

Although they come with their own set of pollution problems and environmental impacts, electric cars are a fine idea. But affordability is a key issue. Sucking more money out of family budgets already being squeezed by rampant inflation — spawned by too much government spending, by the way — only impedes the transition.

Perhaps for a moment we cut the legislature some slack and consider that perhaps they didn’t foresee the unintended consequence of making a necessity, gasoline for transportation, more expensive while simultaneously expecting people to purchase a scarce and expensive alternative, an electric car?

But of course, they did understand the burden this would create; these are not dumb people. They just don’t seem to care.

As it’s constituted now, the ruling party in Olympia sees Washington taxpayers as nothing more than an exhaustless supply of funds for their schemes.

May I suggest you give yourself an early Christmas present — show Tharinger and Chapman the door in this year’s 24th District legislative election. We just can’t afford their tax policies any longer.

While you’re it, sign Initiative 1508, which would reduce the state gas tax by almost 25 cents a gallon.

This is a good time to remember that nothing will change in Olympia, certainly not the ever-growing tax burden we bear, until we change who is in Olympia.

Paul Schmidt is a resident of Sequim and a 1980 graduate of Sequim High School. He works for a Class 1 railroad in Seattle.