Letter to the editor: Thankful gas prices haven’t gone up — yet
Fall is one of my favorite times of the year. I love to feel the cool crispness in the air and see the leaves on the hardwood trees change colors and fall to the ground. The daylight hours are shorter and rain and snow are welcome weather patterns this time of year to relieve the drought, help extinguish the wildfires, and replenish the lakes, rivers, creeks, ponds, reservoirs and water table.
Festive national holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s typically include food, drink and celebration, and usually a gathering of family members or close friends and a shared meal. Many families observe traditional customs and rituals during these fourth quarter, end-of-year holidays such as exchanging of gifts (most gifts are given once while other gifts such as trusts and taxes keep on giving), hanging stockings on the fireplace mantle and filling them with fruits, nuts, candy or a gift card, toy or stuffed animal, lighting of candles, singing of Christmas carols, hanging mistletoe overhead, attending religious services, singing of Christmas carols, traveling to see relatives, hanging Christmas lights, and watching Christmas movies.
Other holiday activities include going skiing, going hunting, going shopping, attending a musical, movie, theatrical or sports event, telling stories, baking a ham or turkey accompanied by assorted vegetables and desserts, baking cookies, pies and cakes and various kinds of breads, drinking eggnog or a glass of apple cider, coffee, tea, soda, wine or champagne, lighting a fire in the fireplace (either wood or gas), and serving our neighbors, community members and fellow man by serving meals to the homeless and those in shelters or in need, and participating in gathering and distributing toys or other gifts for a toy drive or gifts for those in need through an angel tree or giving tree.
The examples shared above no doubt bring warm memories of past holidays and eager anticipation of the major holidays fast approaching again this week. And while many or perhaps most of us can look forward to receiving one or more gifts under the Christmas tree and/or a stocking hung on a mantle and filled with goodies from family and/or friends, we will all share at least one gift in common starting New Year’s Day courtesy of the Washington State legislature and Gov. Jay Inslee, namely, S.B. 5126, the Washington Climate Commitment Act.
According to Todd Myers, Vice President at the Washington Policy Center, one effect of this bill is that our gasoline and diesel tax will nearly double at the beginning of 2023 by taxing CO2 emissions, adding another $0.46 per gallon to the existing $0.49 per gallon state gasoline tax. An increase of $0.56 per gallon is projected for 2023 diesel prices, Myers reported. By 2030, the new tax is expected to add $0.80 per gallon of gas and $0.97 per gallon of diesel, he added.
The Democratic majority passed this bill despite having a large budget surplus and strong opposition from Republicans in both houses of the state legislature. Now that the mid-term elections are over, we can all look forward to celebrating Thanksgiving this week with family or friends, and being rid of those annoying, irritating political attack ads on television, radio and social media for awhile. We can also celebrate the fact that our election system and democratic republic worked as designed yet once again. What are you thankful for this year? Take a few minutes to stop and smell the roses, count your blessings, and tell someone that you love them. And enjoy lower gas prices while you can. Taxes are a gift that keeps on giving.
Bruce Cook is a business and financial consultant, insurance executive, author, speaker, angel investor and entrepreneur, and serves on several boards of directors. He lives in Lakebay.