Newsletter: Attorney General’s office tells PSE to hide reason for increase to your power bill

Dear friends and neighbors,

Republicans have talked a lot about the record increases in the price of gas. We’ve been clear that the tax program the Democrats refer to as “cap-and-trade” or “cap-and-invest” (but we call “cap-and-tax”) is to blame for Washington having the highest/second-highest gas prices in the nation.  The governor and the Democratic majority dispute this and use oil companies as a scapegoat.

FACT: Washington’s gas prices have risen 32%
since Jan. 1, 2023 — the same day the “cap-and-tax” program went into effect.

And it isn’t only gasoline that is increasing in price. The cost of home energy is also going up as a direct result of that same program, which is part of the majority’s Climate Commitment Act. Except Puget Sound Energy is not allowed to tell you that on your billing statement — a fact uncovered by the press. 

The commissioners at the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) ruled last week that it is illegal for PSE to disclose that information to you as a stipulation for approving a 3.25% increase to your bill to cover $16.8 million in losses PSE expects as a result of that program.

Todd Myers of the Washington Policy Center sums up the ruling as one of the “most brazenly dishonest rulings” he’s ever seen.  In it, he says the UTC:

  • Admits the new CO2 tax increases energy prices
  • Contradicts another one of the false claims by Gov. Inslee and the Department of Ecology
  • Brazenly tries to hide those very facts from the public

Worse is that the office of Attorney General Bob Ferguson says including that detail would “unnecessarily complicate” your statement and that your bill should only share information that is “beneficial” to you.

 “…this is not only dishonest but violates the spirit of Washington’s laws and constitution. The position of the Public Counsel in the Attorney General’s office is that they know what the public should know and what they shouldn’t. The claim that transparency is bad for the public is remarkable and revealing.”

Todd Myers, Washington Policy Center

This is lying by omission. By not being transparent about why your power bill is going up, the government dodges any accountability for it.

Their excuse — that full disclosure makes the bill too complicated for you — treats you like you aren’t smart enough to understand it. In reality, they fear that you are too smart not to realize they are at fault for another increase to your cost of living.

The sad irony is that the Department of Ecology claimed that the cap-and-tax program would decrease the cost of energy.

And, in the regulatory proceeding with the UTC, left-wing environmental activist groups who previously released statements blaming oil companies for price increases told a different tale. They admitted the cap-and-tax program, which is part of the Climate Commitment Act, is the cause. Were they lying then? Or are they lying now?

Any rebates offered to offset the increase are the equivalent of a store marking up a product and then offering a fraction of that as a discount. They want you to think you are getting a deal, but you’re really getting swindled.

As leader of the Senate Republicans, I continue to fight against policies that chip away at your family budget, and I defend your right to keep more of your money. Hardworking families like yours don’t need state government taking more of your paycheck year after year.

You also don’t need Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s office advising state government to deceive you because they think you are too easily confused by the facts. You deserve better.

Sen. John Braun


Survey shows reducing the cost of living is your top priority

Thank you to everyone who completed my survey that asked you to identify what you think should be the legislature’s top priority in the 2024 legislative session. As you can see from the graph above, many of the priorities were neck-and-neck. Lowering gas prices and preventing new and higher taxes came out ahead, which coincides with polls taken nationwide. People are less and less able to afford everyday expenses. This, along with the high priority of restoring public safety and eliminating continuing K-12 learning loss caused by remote instruction, are my top priorities as well.

In order, of how they appear in the graphic above, they are:

  • Reducing homelessness
  • Protecting farmers, ranchers and fruit growers from dam breaching and anti-agriculture regulations
  • Repealing and/or replacing the payroll tax to fund the problematic long-term care program
  • Supporting parents’ rights in health and education decisions of minor children
  • Further reducing K-12 learning loss
  • Preventing new and higher taxes
  • Lowering gas prices
  • Increasing the number of police
  • Fighting hard drug use and drug-related crime


“Washington’s fatal drug overdose rate increasing fastest of any state”

Center Square reports that “between March 2022-March 2023, the number of predicted cases of fatal drug overdose increased by 28.4% from 2,356 to 3,024. The number of reported fatal overdose deaths increased by 25%, from 2,351 to 2,948.”

Oregon has the dubious honor of coming in second.

The Democratic majority’s refusal to adequately deal with this problem out of “compassion” is allowing people to die in the streets.

These policies aren’t sympathetic. They are apathetic. And we need to take this problem more seriously. If you’ve lost a loved one to a deadly addiction to opioids, you can understand how state government is failing them.

We must do better.


More corrections officers needed in Lewis County

Lewis County Jail in ‘dire need’ of corrections deputies, undersheriff says (The Chronicle)

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Department has nine vacancies in its corrections department and expects three more soon. It’s critical for our safety that those positions be filled. For more information, contact jail administration.