With strong Democrat support, Republicans want a partnership in the recovery plan.
In his third inaugural address on Wednesday, Governor Jay Inslee said he is confident that Washingtonians will remain resilient enough to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a brief address, Inslee said he was committed to focusing on racial injustice, returning people to work as soon as possible and advancing his climate change initiatives through the 2021 remote session of the state Legislature.
“We will go forward because we are resilient,” Inslee said. “We should embrace what we’ve learned together (from the pandemic).”
The Democrat Inslee begins his third term in office with a Democrat majority in the state Senate and House of Representatives.
In a response from minority Republicans, Representative Drew Stokesbary said working families cannot afford the cost of proposed taxes that Inslee favors and maintained that Inslee has left legislators out of his pandemic recovery plan.
Proposals such as a capital gains tax and environmental regulations would increase the prices of gasoline and home heating fuels and slow the state’s economic recovery while driving jobs out of the state, Stokesbary said.
He also said bills to curb the Governor’s emergency powers during the pandemic are needed because Inslee has chosen not to include enough legislators in his recovery strategy.
“We elect a citizen Legislature, not a king,” Stokesbary said. He added that the Governor’s pandemic recovery plan to date is insufficient.
Increasing state revenues make tax increases unnecessary while the Legislature should expand grants to struggling businesses, approve a tax rebate for families and significantly speed the administration of coronavirus vaccines to reopen more businesses faster and speed the return of workers to their jobs and students to the classroom, Stokesbary said.