Rep. Andrew Barkis demands answers on alleged WSDOT retaliation over cap-and-trade gas price projections

Former state economist Scott Smith has filed a legal claim against two state agencies and the Office of the Governor, alleging retaliation for refusing to stay quiet about his projection that the state’s cap-and-trade program would raise gas prices by as much as 50 cents per gallon. Rep. Andrew Barkis, ranking member on the House Transportation Committee, issued the following statement today:

“I am deeply troubled by the allegations raised by Scott Smith, which demand an independent and thorough investigation free from any political influence.

“The cap-and-trade program was presented to the public with assurances that it would not substantially affect prices at the pump. Last year, Governor Jay Inslee said: “This is going to have a minimal impact, if any. Pennies. We are talking about pennies.” For our part, Republican lawmakers have always predicted the program would significantly increase gas prices. It appears in his capacity as a state economist, Mr. Smith made a similar prediction. His detailed accounts of being instructed to stay quiet are shocking to the conscience. If state agencies are silencing voices and altering information to align with a particular narrative, that compromises the trust citizens place in their government.

“Any suggestion that Washingtonians may have been misled about the financial impacts of the cap-and-trade program demands our immediate attention. As the ranking member on the House Transportation Committee, I am committed to ensuring our transportation policies are based on sound data and that the public is given the truth about the consequences of legislative decisions.

“Our citizens deserve accountability, transparency, and a government that prioritizes their well-being. It is imperative that we expose and address any systemic issues that may compromise the integrity of our policymaking process.”


Washington State House Republican Communications