Rep. Jacquelin Maycumber: Think cost of food and fuel are high now? They’re about to get worse
During a time of the highest inflation in decades, the majority party voted to increase the cost of living. During a housing crisis, they voted to increase the cost of building a home. During a public safety crisis and a time of increased crime, they voted to decrease criminal sentences and attacked the Second Amendment and law-abiding gunowners.
Unfortunately, there seems to be a serious disconnect between what our families and communities are facing and what lawmakers in Olympia are doing.
With inflation at a 40-year high, and with gas prices skyrocketing to record prices, our money is being stretched like never before. Many of us are struggling to fill up our gas tanks, put food on our tables, and keep our families healthy.
Contrast that with the riches of Washington state coffers.
Rising property values – and thus rising property taxes – along with federal stimulus money and continued economic activity around the state has led to an unprecedented state budget surplus of nearly $15 billion over the next four years.
With many citizens experiencing unprecedented economic hardships and our state flush with taxpayer dollars, now is the time for a bipartisan effort to give some back to hardworking Washingtonians. This is something I worked hard to achieve during this short, 60-day, mostly remote legislative session.
However, with the current majority in Olympia, it didn't happen.
Republicans offered bills to reduce property taxes, reduce the state sales tax, reduce the business and occupation tax for small businesses, and more.
Not one was allowed to pass into law.
In fact, the transportation budget created and passed by the majority party will raise fees and taxes. Again, at a time when gas prices threaten our family budgets, forcing us to make difficult choices.
And it's going to get worse. Low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS) and cap-and-tax legislation passed by the majority party last year will absolutely have an impact on the price of gas. Some conservative estimates say it could add another dollar-per-gallon to the price of fuel.
Those of us in the agriculture community who farm and ranch are being devastated by rising fuel and fertilizer costs. When you add in the increasing costs of transporting goods to markets and circumstances on the global stage, food prices are going to continue to rise.
The biggest failure of this year's legislative session was the inability to look past today and realize that things are going to get much worse. We could have given substantial, meaningful relief to taxpayers that are being squeezed from all sides.
This failure will be the hallmark of the 2022 legislative session and will impact our citizens, families, and communities for years to come.
The struggle that we face is real. The impacts to our families and children are real. But we are in this together. I will continue to fight for the safety of our families, the value of our hard-earned dollars, and the future of our children. We are 7th District Strong!
(Rep. Jacquelin Maycumber, R-Republic, serves as the House Republican Floor Leader.)