Higher energy taxes on the way?

new banner
Energy Taxes Hurt

Dear Friends,

Although it’s hard to believe, the end of the 2021 session is less than two weeks away. That’s a very short amount of time to complete all the work yet to be done – especially on the budget.

Last week, the House and Senate spent most of the week, including Saturday and Sunday, voting on policy bills, as we approached last Sunday's "opposite House cutoff" deadline. What that means is that the Senate had until 5 p.m. on Sunday to complete work on bills sent over from the House, and vice-versa. 

Bills that failed to be approved by both chambers in some form by that deadline are considered "dead" for the year. Bills that are necessary to implement the budget are exempt from that deadline. And, of course, no bill is truly dead until the session ends, which is scheduled for April 25. 

There are several good bills that should have advanced, but died in one chamber or the other. There are also a large number of bills that I wish would have died, but didn't -- including a constitutionally questionable income tax proposal, a cap-and-tax carbon scheme, a high cost fuels standard,  a gas tax increase and serval state mandates on builders, school boards, and individuals. 

You can read more about these bills and more below. 

As always, if there is anything I can do for you, please write, call or send me an e-mail.

It’s an honor to serve you in Olympia.


New Sig

Sharon Brown
State Senator
8th District

This Week's Video Update:

Majority pushes regressive new energy taxes and carbon plan

HCFS Debate

Click the image above to watch my floor speech on the High Cost Fuel Standard and its impact on working families.

On April 8, the Senate convened for floor debate on pending legislation, including final passage of E2SSB 5126 (Cap-and-Tax Scheme) and E3SJB1091 (High Cost Fuel Standard). The pair of bills, which would quickly raise the cost of gas by a minimum of 55 cents per gallon, narrowly passed after an eight-hour battle.


Under the guise of carbon-reduction, the majority passed legislation that would devastate the poor, minorities, farmers and families by driving up the cost of fuel by as much as 75 cents a gallon at full implementation. The cost would come in addition to state and federal gas taxes totaling 67.8 cents a gallon, already fourth-highest in the country. There is also a proposal under consideration this year for a 9.8 cent increase in transportation-related gas taxes. 

House Bill 1091 passed the Senate 27-20. Senate Bill 5126 passed 25-24. Both measures now go to the House for further consideration.

Leadership Report:

Cutoff highlights refusal to address emergency powers — one of many majority failures


Click here to listen to the audio report on this story.

Senate Republican leaders (Republican Leader John Braun, Caucus Chair Ann Rivers and myself) released a report after Sunday’s legislative deadline for bills that passed in their house origin to be considered by the opposite chamber.

There were so many quality bills that didn’t make the cutoff deadline, which makes it even more stunning that the Majority used this session to focus on increasing taxes on Washingtonians.

With so much money coming into the state through increased tax revenues and billions in federal relief dollars, there was clearly no reason for tax increases this year. I am disappointed that Democrats have used their majorities in the House and Senate to push the creation of a new and most-likely unconstitutional income tax on capital gains, a cap-and-tax scheme that will increase the cost of gas and groceries for working families, and other policies that put our state economy and family household budgets at risk.

The majority’s insatiable desire for more of the people’s money is nothing short of government greed.

Click here to read our full report.

Blake decision throwing out drug possession law must be fixed

Blake ruling

In the case of State v. Blake, the Washington State Supreme Court determined the statute prohibiting simple possession of drugs was unconstitutional. This decision could potentially impact more than 11,300 cases. 

The Legislature needs to act NOW to fix the problem we’re left with after this decision. Allowing simple possession is bad public policy and will only lead to further decay in our communities, greater struggles for those challenged with addiction, and decay of families. 

Often, the thing that gets people struggling with drug addiction into treatment programs is being arrested for possession. In the absence of that, many will go without the treatment that will save their lives and keep them from harming others.

People who are enrolled in drug court programs as the result of an arrest for possession have lost their access to the treatment the drug court programs provide. This hurts people who need help and want help but can’t afford the help on their own. It also hurts people who need the accountability, structure and support of drug court to get clean and sober.

So not only is society in greater danger, but those who truly need help will be left to languish in addiction.

Relevant articles:

In The News:

Local lawmakers oppose wind farm project; say decision-making needs to be made locally

by Samantha Spitz, KEPR TV | 


Some local lawmakers said they're against the Horse Heaven Wind Farm project — a renewable energy proposal that has stirred up tons of controversy within the community.

Republican lawmakers said the decision-making needs to be made locally, not from a government agency in Olympia.

"We've tried to put amendments and put bills out there that would return the process of the decision making back to the localities in which these projects are potentially going to be cited," 8th District Senator Sharon Brown said.

Click here to read the full story.

 * * *

PLEASE NOTE: Any email or documents you provide to this office may be subject to disclosure under RCW 42.56. If you would prefer to communicate by phone, please contact Sen. Brown's office at (360) 786-7614.

April 13, 2021

Stay Connected



Send me an email


Office Phone:







202 Newhouse Building
P.O. Box 40408
Olympia, WA 98504-0408