June 30, 2005
Who supports the gas tax anyway?
Yesterday I posted some hilarious propaganda flyers from the pro-gas tax "Keep Washington Rolling" campaign. This one was parody: "You will die. Your children will die. Oh, and did we mention you’ll lose your job, too?" This one was genunine self-parody: "Bad for our families! Killer highways remain unsafe! Bad for our economy! Average of 8,800 jobs lost annually over the next decade!", as was this one: "Don’t let I-912 sink the ferries! Don’t sign their petitions!"
This leads one to ask: Who are the shameless weasels who put out such ridiculous propaganda to defend the dishonest hike in the gas tax?
Hint: most of the shameless weasels have a claim on large chunks of pork from the barrel, e.g. organized labor, highway contractors, bond underwriters and public finance and contracts lawyers.
If you want to stand up to these shameless weasels who only want to enrich themselves at your expense, do what you can in the few remaining days to gather signatures to put the No New Gas Tax initiative on the ballot.
Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at June 30, 2005
10:13 AM | Email This
...and if you want a Google search for "shameless weasels
" to come up with Keep Washington Rolling's "Who We Are" page in the number one spot, just litter your site liberally with links like this: shameless weasels
Amusingly, the number one result for that search right now is a page right here on Sound Politics.
2. Bank of America, Boeing, Merrill Lynch, Microsoft, Pemco, Puget Sound Energy, and Weyerhaeuser are shameless weasels? Just asking.
Myth: People in Eastern Washington should support I-912 because the gas tax increase only benefits Western Washington.
Fact: Historically Eastern Washington has benefited greatly through transportation projects funded by the gas tax, and this package is no exception. Everyone in the state depends on our economy, which demands a safe and reliable transportation system. The gas tax increase provides funding for about 200 projects around the state.
I love that one. What a great example of bureaucratic doublespeak. Hmmm, the Palouse region makes out like a bandit. Let's see Whitman County gets a whopping .00011 of the pie. Garfield, Asotin, and Columbia Counties get nothing at all.
We are going to send those pogues a message in November.
"Keep Washington Rolling is a broad group of transportation supporters that has launched a campaign to stop a shortsighted initiative that will halt the repair and maintenance of our state’s roads and make them less safe
Why don't they suggest to cut the funds that are used to go out there and make the roads less safe, and move them to something more productive?
Port of Everett? Port of Seattle? Port of Tacoma? All of these are listed as supporters of the gasoline tax hike and members of Keep Washington Rolling on the web link that Stefan has posted under "shameless weasels".
These are all public entities. RCW 42.17.128 and RCW 42.17.130 prohibit public entities from using funds or facilities to support or oppose any ballot proposition or candidate for office.
The only exception would be under RCW 42.17.130(1), which allows public agencies to take an up or down vote on whether to support or oppose a ballot proposition.
The Port of Seattle is particularly outrageous. They collect $62.5 million per year in property taxes from King County property owners every year to subsidize the airport and seaport operations.
These port operations should be making a profit. If they can't make a profit, then the real estate should be sold to a willing buyer so the taxpayers don't have to subsidize any losses.
In reality, the Port of Seattle has been earning surpluses every year that are far greater than the amount of property taxes collected. A surplus of just over $200 million in 2004, and a projected surplus of over $290 million in 2005.
To put matters in perspective, every penny of gasoline tax generates about $10 million in annual revenue just from the gasoline sold in King County. So the Port of Seattle property tax is equivalent to paying a little over six cents per gallon of gasoline tax in King County.
The Port of Seattle has increased its property tax from $35.6 million in 2001 (the last time I ran for the port commission) to $62.5 million in 2005. By the time the full 9.5 cent gasoline tax takes effect in July 2008, the Port of Seattle property tax could be generating almost as much in its unfair and completely unnecessary property tax, as King County motorists will be paying in additional gasoline tax.
From where do other county residents ship their products? Or catch a flight out of the region? What person in KC decided that KC residents should be subsidizing the ports (and what did they get in return?), as opposed to the entire state, or preferably, as you said, let them earn the money and make a profit.
7. anyone know where I can sign in the Northgate area?
8. Christine Gregoire and her ilks, and the batch if liberal a$$'s I work with.
Port taxes. Another reason I moved out of a Port district. And if you think Bush spends like a "drunken sailor", these guys can really put them down!!
I also moved out of Sound Transit range.
Remember the old saying, "the two things in life that is true is death and taxes".
Thanks Ivan for pointing out the obvious.
Bank of America, Boeing, Merrill Lynch, Microsoft, Pemco, Puget Sound Energy, and Weyerhaeuser all support the gas tax hike
because it represents part of a larger pie and they want a piece of that action to enhance their bottom line.
If any Republican suggested such a justification, you and the other nitwit liberal shameless weasels would all be apoplectic.
So much for the treadworn liberal canard that Democrats are for the little working guy.
Whatever seems convenient in the moment eh?
Want to follow Governursemama Gregoire and her liberal toadies? Follow the money (payola).
Safety, Safety, Safety.
So, in 15-20 years, after unimaginable construction congestion, we will have the same road capacity as we currently have, only it will be safer? Then we will start another 20 year project to remodel these safe roads to increase capacity?
The 28 cents we pay today should be going towards safety. What the PEOPLE wanted was congestion relief.
By the way, the argument that "if we don't do something, we'll be stuck in our cars longer" doesn't wash with me. Spending an extra 15 minutes in the car doesn't even come close to waiting at park and rides, bus stops and bus transfers whic add considerable more than 15 minutes to a commute.
Government probably likes congestion. Cars use gas not going anywhere meaning they will need to buy more gas sooner, adding more tax revenue to the coffers....
I would agree to more gas tax if it was spent on new general purpose roads. Fix choke points and improve the general flow of traffic.
If the state would state that HOV lanes can also be used by trucks that are passing through the region.
If they get rid of Sales tax on goods purchased for the road construction. All Road construction vehicles would get tax free fuel.
No art funding from road construction.
Streamline permit process. No drop date and restart the process. Cut the waste in the 33% spent on getting approval to do the job. It could mean more money for the buck. I know we will need to pay about 50 cents per gallon eventually in new taxes. All those taxes must be temporary. Once the back log is done the any tax above the average nation wide of gas tax would be repealed.
NO BONDING of gas tax revenue. It needs to be present at all times available. BOnds means more taxes because once the project is done all the gas tax money is paying bonds. You start the projects that are ready with funds available. What you get this month or quarter is what you use to pay for construction work. You start and finish the job on time.
State general fund spending must increase for road construction equal to the gas tax increase. The general fund must match Dollar for Dollar of gas tax revenue. If transportation is an emergency and they ask to pick our pockets then Olympia must also make hard decisions and match these taxes in new road construction money. They will never do that because all the extra billions of dollars of revenue did not go to road construction it went to everything but. Unless Olympia is serious about the road work needed I can never support it.
There is a lot that Olympia can do that shows that trasportation is important. But they have to stop all this social spending to fix the roads or there will be even less money coming into the coffers in the future.
Just a few thoughts.
Well, we in Pullman have heard this "safety" claptrap before. In the "nickel's worth" gas tax of two years ago, WSDOT allocated $28.5 million to widen SR 270 betwen Pullman and Moscow, ID. That road is a killer, including the tragic deaths of 3 WSU students at the hands of a drunk driver a few years back.
But, by law, the project is capped at $28.5 million, and it is already $7 million overbudget because of increased right-of-way costs. Two years later, not one shovel full of dirt has been broken, and it is not projected to be until late next year. That is, of course, if they still have enough money left to even start.
That's your Washington legislature and WSDOT at work. And now they want us to trust them with even more more money, which will be of no benefit to us at all.
14. Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties
Gee, would that be the same 'Masters Builder's Association' that practically underwrites the Republican In Name Only party in this state?
The Libertarians are looking better all the time.
I'm glad I can provide you with the emotional release that calling me names gets you.
Now what's your program, other than "don't tax me?
Jim: this isn't a partisan issue. BOTH sides have big $$ interests to keep this tax in place.
Both sides see it a bunch of BS and hence the initiative effort.
This issue is about BIG $$: BIG Business, BIG Gov't. and the PEOPLE who don't want to pay BIG $$.
Ivan (great name, and so appropriate), here's a plan:
I like the Libertarians approach: User fees (i.e. tolls) instead of taxes to fund public projects. Let the people who are currently using the Viaduct, the foating bridge and I-405 pay to get them fixed. Not us in Eastern Washington.
Where the hell is the 28 cents per gallon we are currently paying being spent? We need audits and accountability before the state gets even more of our money.
Get the funds lined up from D.C. first BEFORE you implement a tax. It has come to light in recent days that we have the proverbial snowball's chance of getting that Federal billion dollars and no one is even trying anyway.
If the Viaduct and the floating bridge are that unsafe, close the damn things down immediately. That'll get people motivated to push through renovations without endless environmental impacts and pork for the unions.
The current series of man-made disasters monorail, elections, Sound Transit, etc.) prove that the Democrats that run this state are completely incompotent. And now they want another $8 billion from us? Forget it.
Actually, Ivan has (inadvertently) asked a good question....Are they "shameless weasels?"
Are they if they support the "Keep Washington Rolling" barf-athon? What if "Keep Washington Rolling" just says
that they are.
I've called around to several of the names on the list trying to get confirmation of that so-called support and the results so far are interesting:
Microsoft - We can neither confirm or deny.
BOA - I have no information that we are on any such list.
Boeing - wouldn't say - referred me to a PR office in Chicago.
PSE - We are not associated with that group.
Just because KWR says that "it is" doesn't mean that "it is". Try it yourself - KWR claims a long list of supporters. I bet we could winnow it down considerably!
From the CH2M Hill website:
The HOV project will improve traffic flow, safety and the environment in Snohomish County through Everett by adding more than 10 miles—5.7 northbound and 4.9 southbound—of new carpool lanes on I-5 between Highway 526 and US 2. The project will:
add northbound HOV lanes to I-5 from Highway 526 to US 2
add southbound HOV lanes to I-5 from Marine view Drive to Highway 526
add a northbound and southbound auxiliary lane (also called a merge lane) on I-5 from 41st Street to US 2
widen or replace 19 bridges
improve freeway on-ramps and exits
install noise walls at certain locations
treat freeway storm water run off
build a new right-hand exit to Broadway
improve or add lighting and surveillance, control and driver information
improve components such as driver messaging signs, traffic cameras and ramp meters"
Anybody notice whats missing here?
GENERAL PURPOSE LANES!!!!!!
20. I just heard on the John Carlson show that a Seattle law firm is bringing suit against Fisher Radio, alleging that they are contributors to the initiative campaign in that they have made in-kind contributions through on-air discussion and commentary, to an estimated amount over that which is legally allowed. What a joke! These people are absolutely terrified of Washington voters who have had enough. They are so scared, they are attempting to distort the political campaign laws to stop the initiative. It's not going to work.
21. I live in Belltown and work at home and pretty much can take care of all my needs by walking. I hardly ever have to drive anywhere, mostly to visit family. So I don't care what happens. But as an outside observer it seems to me that the "no new gas tax" people are biting their nose to spite their face. I hear all kinds of whining about the clogged highways but nobody seems to want to pay to do anything about it. And it seems clear to me that the declared gas tax is only keeping up with inflation. What do the "no new gas tax" people expect to happen? Without investment in infrastructure Washington is going to turn into an Idaho or Montana. Seattle will turn into a Boise. Oh, now that I think about it, maybe that's what the anti-tax people want. Turning Seattle into a Boise would probably turn this blue state red.
Keep Washington Rolling is lying about its list of supporters. See Stefan's "shameless weasels" link or the web address of its alleged supporters at:
The Port of Seattle and Port of Everett have NOT voted to join Keep Washington Rolling or even to take a position on Initiative 912. I sent public records requests to both agencies, and they denied that the topic has ever been on either the agenda or minutes of any of their meetings in 2005.
I would imagine that Keep Washington Rolling is lying about the Port of Tacoma as well. Haven't heard back from them yet.
23. Here's a couple of ways the current road construction funds are being spent.
$4.2 million to plant native vegetation along SR 18 from Covington to Maple Valley. Apparently the revegation done following construction wasn't "native" enough. Or maybe it was too native becasue it didn't do too well.
Take a look at the King County DOT webpage and check out all the "fish passage" culvert replacement projects being justified as drainage improvement. These are properly functioning culverts being replaced to be salmon friendly road crossings even though salmon have never been in most of these streams. This is $ diverted from road maintenance activities.
I was amazed at how easy it was to gather signatures for that initiative!
NO ONE hesitated to sign...
What does that tell you?
You make a good point on the Moscow-Pullman highway. Nothing substantial has been done to that road forever.
Remember the woman that was killed riding her bike several years ago? It took private citizens to fund the Chipman trail.
Yes, I remember Fred Russell, the murderer who killed 3 WSU students. He is still on the run, no thanks to our illustrious judge, David Frazier, who let him out on $5,000 bond. Knowing he was facing murder charges, he skipped bail and has not been heard from since.
Then there was the person that was killed a couple of years ago when he was rear-ended, trying to turn off that highway.
It is positively a death trap.
Ivan, you want to talk about a platform? If you care to get a little deeper than your desire to write us off as "no tax" idiots because we oppose a 50% increase in a tax that has been mis-spent for years, here's a few planks to start building with:
1: Honesty during campaigning. How utterly stupid do our government officials have to believe us to be, to think that we won't notice broken promises of "no new taxes" or "tax increases only as a last resort?" Reap the whirlwind, Olympia.
2: Prioritization. Quit putting the most essential functions of government on the chopping block ahead of pork-barrel garbage. OH MY GOD THE SKY IS FALLING AND THE VIADUCT IS GOING TO COLLAPSE, BUT BY GOLLY WE CAN MAKE SURE WE PAY TO MAKE IT LOOK PURTY, AND PUSH SOME EXTRA MONEY INTO THE "GENERAL FUND" TOO.
3: Did I mention PRIORITIZATION? The "Governor's" website had a blurb up at the end of the Legislative session bragging about the RECORD NUMBER OF BILLS passed. Does that sound like prioritization? How many citizens do you think believe that quantity of laws is more important than quality?
4: Quit gaming the system. 98 "emergencies" - nothing short of a pure ABUSE of power. Power that is loaned to you by the citizens of Washington, and which is being misused to explicitly deny the expressed will of those citizens.
Huh.. Look at that. It's almost as if you could save money AND restore some of the faith of the electorate in their "representatives." You might want to mention to some of your fellow "D's" that it's their utter failure to adhere to the principles I've just expressed that result in people like myself voting for "R's" and "L's." Because as hard as it may be to see from the throne and all.. you may not always "have the votes."
It is always reasonable to acknowledge that others may have different views of the issues, so long as they are honest ones. You are aware of the realities about this gas tax hike and you know for a fact that its subject purpose is not merely ill-defined but un-defined. I would quietly accept taxes enacted by a responsible leadership so long as they demonstrate seriousness and competence regarding the stability of our economy, and the appropriate need for taxation as supporting public policy rather than transparent political maneuvering and payola.
I used to ponder from time to time whether people (liberal leaders) like you are intelligent enough to comprehend the evil involved with those liberal policies you espouse and are therefore deliberately malicious, immoral and injurious, or if you like your sycophants are simply another hapless victim of your own self-tutored, hazy befuddlement. I have concluded it is some of both, but it doesn’t matter because you are beyond any consideration other than humor and derision.
That notwithstanding, let’s just say that in pertinent part my program is, tax me only after you have apprehended sensible priorities, and when you have a program that makes sense (Makes sense = has a chance of solving problems like our congested transportation system). Yours is insouciant partisan support of cynical economic incontinence, and (as I noted earlier) you damned-well know it. The problem I have is that unless I simply leave this area, my family and I are among those who will have to pay dearly to clean up the idiotic messes made and/or supported by people like you.
Thanks though very cordially for your understanding acknowledgment of the reasons why I delight from aptly calling you and the other nitwit liberal shameless weasels – a nitwit liberal shameless weasel.
Hey Ivan Weiss
What -- no response, nothing to say?
30. It's the ferry flyer that REALLY gets my goat. Why in hell should the rest of the state subsidize the damn ferries? If you want to rida a boat, you pay the costs -- why should the rest of the state subsidize your commute?
I see your point and used to hold a similar position.
However, Ferries are important for the same reason the Golden Gate Bridge is important. Infrastructure for National Defense, and commerce. If we cannot readily access the Islands, their strategic and commercial importance is lost to all of us. It may not seem like it, but the Ferry system more than pays for itself in the long run in terms of benefit to the total state population.
For all of the obvious reasons, this is a quite different justification from those of the Monorail or the Alaskan Way Viaduct projects, and more similar to rationale that supports comprehensive re-evaluation of transportation reform against the Mass Transit and Regional Hub approaches.
Amused: Re: Ivan, I think it must be that SAP* thing again.....
*Short Attention Span
33. I am visiting my folks in ND. I had a nice visit with a State Senator of the Minority Party in ND (A Democrat). We talked a little about road construction. IN ND he said that road construction cost was about a million dollars per lane mile. So I have a hard time understanding why it costs so much to build roads in WA State. It was interesting to see that only 400 Million dollars was spent on road construction in the state this year. Hundreds of miles of new roads. Dozens of bridges rebuilt or refurnished. Hundreds of miles of roads resurfaced. All for only 400 million Dollars. It makes you wonder....