Schoesler says agricultural groups oppose ‘cap-and-tax’ bill, contrary to claims by Democrat senator

No one should believe claims that the state’s agricultural industry backs a Democratic senator’s “cap-and-tax” bill, considering how disastrous the proposal would be to this key part of Washington’s economy, says 9th District Sen. Mark Schoesler.

Schoesler cited a recent story in the Capital Press agriculture publication in which reporter Don Jenkins quoted officials with the Washington Farm Bureau, Northwest Agricultural Cooperative Council and Washington’s Cattlemen’s Association. All countered Sen. Reuven Carlyle’s recent claim that the state’s agricultural industry is an “enthusiastic supporter” of the cap-and-tax proposal, Senate Bill 5126.

“When you have officials from these important ag groups all saying this claim by Senator Carlyle is false, it really makes you shake your head,” said Schoesler, R-Ritzville, who runs a wheat farm and is a fifth-generation farmer. “As someone who serves an agricultural district, I’ve been in touch with a wide section of people in this sector. At best, they are apprehensive about this proposal. At worst, they are flat-out against it. People need to remember that farmers and growers are price takers, not price setters. If this bill becomes law, it will drive up food prices, which is bad news for consumers, especially those on a small income.”

Senate Bill 5126 has been placed on the Senate’s voting calendar after being approved along party lines by the Senate Environment, Energy and Technology Committee, Senate Ways and Means Committee and Senate Rules Committee.

“When Senator Carlyle claimed in Ways and Means that his bill has support from agriculture, he followed it with a mention of reforestation. Trees are definitely an important rotational crop in Washington, but if the good senator from Seattle doesn’t know our agricultural sector is about much more than forestry, I’d encourage him to leave the city and pay a visit to the farms that grow our food and are so important to trade in our state,” Schoesler said.

“The fact that this bill never went to the Senate Transportation Committee, despite the enormous effect it could have on the cost of fuel, clearly indicates Democratic leaders don’t care much about the negative effect it will have on drivers, and on companies that rely on our roads to ship products and goods,” said Schoesler.

People who wish to comment to Democratic leaders on a particular bill can call the toll-free Legislative Hotline at 1-800-562-6000 and share their thoughts.

The 2021 legislative session is scheduled to end April 25.