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Herrera Beutler to Inslee: Don’t Give Oregonians Long Term Care Tax Relief Unless Oregon Cancels Tolling Scheme Targeting Southwest Washington Commuters

Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler today sent a letter to Governor Jay Inslee urging him to stand up for Southwest Washington commuters by refusing to delay the WA Cares revenue collection for Oregon residents until Oregon leaders cancel their plans to target Washington residents with a commuter tax on the I-5 and I-205 bridges.

The full text of the letter follows, and a PDF is available here.

Dear Governor Inslee,

As you are aware, Oregon residents who work in Washington are some of the loudest critics of the state's new long-term care program since they have correctly asserted that they will not receive any benefit even though they will be forced to pay into it.

That plight rings familiar to Southwest Washington residents who are in a similar situation with the state of Oregon. I’m referring, of course, to Oregon’s plan to toll Southwest Washington commuters once they cross into Oregon via the existing I-205 and I-5 bridges – a revenue-raising scheme signed into law as part of Oregon’s 2017 transportation funding plan.

Like Oregonians’ critiques of the long-term care tax, Southwest Washington commuters are outraged that they will be taxed for using the same decades-old roads that exist today, but none of the tolls collected will be used to replace the I-5 bridge and much of the money will be used on projects elsewhere in Oregon, outside the corridor where the tolls are collected and in areas of the state rarely visited by the Washington residents who will pay the tolls.

The opportunity now exists to force Oregon to address this major inequity. You should refuse to delay the WA Cares revenue collection for Oregon residents until Oregon’s leaders cancel their plans to target Washington residents with this commuter tax.

Here is an opportunity to stand up for Washingtonians. I urge you to take it.