January 06, 2011
Gregoire proposes a new government to sidestep I-1053 -- just what we don't need: Son of Sound Transit

I-1053 was approved by 64% of the voters and it is the 4th time it has been approved by them. And thanks to Senator Roach and Attorney General McKenna, we have an AG legal opinion that backs up this clear principle: decisions about taking more of the people's money must be made by elected representatives in the Legislature because we can hold them accountable.

So now that 64% of the voters have reigned in state government with I-1053, Gregoire today proposed a new government with new taxing authority to sidestep I-1053's protections.

Just what we don't need: Son of Sound Transit.

Voters were very clear in November: during these tough times, families and businesses are tightening their belts and making do with less and voters firmly believe it's long past time for government to do the same. Government needs to stop taxing-and-spending and start reforming-and-prioritizing using existing revenue.

Just as bad, like Sound Transit, the taxpayers who live in this new government's jurisdiction (a gerrymandered district of course) will not have the initiative and referendum power. And like Sound Transit, its board will likely be appointed or elected to other positions, removing direct representation and thus, direct accountability. And with any taxes this new government imposes, why am I skeptical they won't have a two-thirds vote requirement?

Last night, the Transportation Commission acknowledged I-1053 and agreed their vote for 520 tolls was merely advisory. It is up to the publicly elected Legislature to make such decisions. As the Everett Herald's editorial "Honor voters clear message" expressed: "Authority for setting tolls and fares, which have such a direct effect on citizens' everyday lives, should rest with citizens' elected representatives. Lawmakers who fear backlash from such action ought to consider a different job."

Four times the voters have approved the policies in I-1053. We're going to give the voters their 5th opportunity in 2012. So for the next two years, the voters will be watching Olympia to see if they got the message. If the Legislature and Governor respect and abide by the will of the people in the next two legislative sessions, our 2012 initiative may not have as much resonance with the electorate. But if Olympia disregards, dismisses, or disrespects the policies, purposes, and clear intent of I-1053, the voters will likely renew I-1053's policies a 5th time (and we'll likely tighten the belt a notch tighter). The Legislature's and Governor's actions over the next two years will determine the fate of our 2012 initiative. Taking recorded votes on specific increases is not too much to ask of our elected representatives.

Posted by Tim Eyman at January 06, 2011 12:54 PM | Email This
1. Tim, you the only one writing at sp these days? Well, keep up the good work. Don't forget it's about all of us.

Posted by: swatter on January 6, 2011 02:08 PM
2. That's the 5,492nd reason I left the Washington State in 2007. And now, you can't even play online poker there. You should change the name of the place to The People's Republic of Washingtonistan. Frikkin commies.

Posted by: Easycure on January 6, 2011 02:42 PM
3. Naturally Bruce thinks this is a wonderful idea.

Posted by: Crusader on January 6, 2011 02:51 PM
4. I agree! Tim, please run an initiative to SHUT DOWN THE FERRY SYSTEM and subsidies. Why should voters in other counties subsidize the lifestyle decision to live in rural Island County? As a King county voter, my money and gas taxes should only go to KING COUNTY work.

Everyone in Spokane, Island, Garfield, Skamania -- go fund yourselves. Hell yes!

Posted by: Keep our taxes where we pay!!! on January 6, 2011 03:19 PM
5. Some times Puget Sound republicans really confuse me. The ferry system doesn't make enough money to cover it's costs. Possible solutions:

1) Raise rates for those who use it, you know, like using tolls to build new freeways, something very Republican in nature.....nope, against that.

2) Raise property taxes for those areas whose property values increase because of the ferry system. Another Republican type idea not as good as the first where only those who use the service pay for it, but the next best thing, those who gain from the service pay for it.....nope, against that.

3) Shut down the ferry system......about how I feel about shutting down I-5 in and around King County....now there is one idea we can all live with. Shut down the state patrol, another non-profitable agency. Shut down public schools - hey, there is another one that doesn't turn a profit.

Just making a point here. Now, selling the ferry system might be the way to go, but in order to make it profitable so that it fetches enough revenue there might need to be a property tax on those island counties to provide a kickback along with heavy duty strings for whoever buys the system.....which makes a heck of a lot of sense, or at least it should, for republicans.

Posted by: Doug on January 6, 2011 03:46 PM
6. Sound Transit is such a nightmare...its taxing authority will last on forever...even Christ after the second coming will be taxed by Joni Earl...given the bizarre rulings from the courts on what was promised vs. what was built and the authority to fraudulently continue to take taxes is allowed.
Another one of these is not what we need. No where in the rules of the game (aka constitutions) are these special taxing districts authorized regardless of the "vote" because someone in a legislature "voted" yes.
Again can I just be free for five minutes and Christine you can do like a real women would...charge a rate to cover your costs and see who shows up rather than cowardly shirking any idea of leadership and hiding behind special taxing districts and walking away all while still thinking about that recount "stuff".

Where is the accountability of these agencies to be penetrated and cleaned out.

Well I guess you can kill a monorail line when it makes your nightmare heavy rail look like the fraud it is. (Voted yes 3 times there).

Tim we need the eff you initiative that just says this period. Sound Transit will be sold at 10 am to the highest bidder on January 5, 2015. The bidder might buy it for the salvage value of the rail cars.

If Obama can screw and steal GM from the investors...So can we...Taxed forever!!??! The investors in Sound Transit can go back to the twerp "loiers" that underwrote the bonds and sue them for fraud along with Joni Earl, Arrogant Reardon and the rest involved in this billions of dollars of fraud under the guise of moving people.

Posted by: Col. Hogan on January 6, 2011 04:02 PM
7. @4:
Then I guess we shouldn't build bridges, overpasses, etc? You stupid people on Mercer Island. You don't need to be able to leave. We are blowing up the bridges so we don't ever have to replace them again. Too costly to maintain and all that. Have a nice life.


Posted by: Mr. RcGuy on January 6, 2011 04:33 PM
8. Doug,

You really don;t understand conservatives at all. You missed option 4. Return the ferry system back to the private sector that once ran it before the state stole it from the Blackball company under the guise of keeping them from raising rates. the state promptly raised the rates after taking the system over.

But the state will not turn it over to private sector because it is a union cash cow.

Posted by: eyago on January 6, 2011 05:21 PM
9. Boy, I'm confused. I thought all those right-thinking conservatives in eastern WA resented their funds going to us communists who take our Priuses on ferries around Puget Sound on our way to union rallies. Isn't Gregoire's proposal -- for ferry subsidies (if any) to come from the regions where their riders live -- at least a step in the right direction #albeit not as libertarian as eliminating all ferry subsidies)?

Posted by: Bruce on January 6, 2011 05:51 PM
10. Apparntly, "right-thinking conservatives" aren't the only ones that don't like this plan:

Five Democrats in the state Senate sent out a statement slapping down Gregoire's idea. They included Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen, D-Camano Island, who heads the Senate Transportation Committee. Democrats control the Legislature.

"Our ferries are part of our state highway system, just like roads, rail and transit," the statement said. "Isolating the needs in our ferry system and creating another layer of government to address them is not the solution. Users of ferries already pay into the highway system just like everybody else when they pay gas taxes, in addition to ferry fares."

Posted by: SouthernRoots on January 6, 2011 06:29 PM
11. Holey moley. I'm already forced to pay property taxes for Dows little foot ferrys, which I will likely never use. Now this has the feel of paying more property taxes.

Posted by: Tomas on January 6, 2011 06:45 PM
12. Desperation--like the national scene---you see the voter anger and your imminent demise--so, ram through all the things/laws you want to do now with legal games and side-steps; who cares if you lose; taxpayers will pay and get stuck with your agenda & policies for decades until they realize what REALLY happened...oh--how was that free "trade" trip to 'Nam & the east, Gov?--I don't see many Viet companies relocating to "say-WA" & building plants here...

Posted by: jimmie howya-doin on January 6, 2011 09:45 PM
13. She's pretty much incapable of doing anything right. Every single time she'll stooge for unions and statism.

Posted by: Jeff B. on January 7, 2011 03:11 AM
14. Queen Chrissy has turned the idea of E Plurbus Unum on its head. Instead she prefers her own dictum of E Plurbus Screw'em.

Posted by: Rick D. on January 7, 2011 06:44 AM
15. What we need is a state law that says no county may receive more in state funds than they pay into the state coffers. If you pay $x dollars in 2010, you are entitled to a matching $x in 2011, and not one single penny more, by county.

Posted by: Let us keep our money on January 7, 2011 12:55 PM
16. Lately I've been 'making do' with less. No idea what 'making due' means. :/

Posted by: NeilsInSeattle on January 7, 2011 01:27 PM
17. eyago,

your #4 is my last paragraph. I think in order to make the ferry system long-term viable as a private entity while also ensuring a modicum of transportation services for the state's residents, then a partnership should be formed. The state could subsidize the private ferry runs to an extent equal to property tax collections on the islands that they serve, while tying those subsidies to performance or service goals. In turn the private ferry companies likely would still have to reduce some services and increase some rates to make the runs profitable (as the state can't do it either), but lots of those changes could be offset by the subsidies.

As much as conservative hate subsidies, we also don't mind them assuming that they are targeted correctly. By taxing those who benefit from the service, that subsidy would be more in line to how we should expect our government to run.

If the Puget Sound dems don't like the idea, it must have some merit....that is the philosphy one should always consider....with any legal proposal in the legislature.

Posted by: Doug on January 7, 2011 02:48 PM
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