Thank you again for your support and encouragement in making The Freedom Agenda the most successful slate of Republican House bills in more than a decade. However, the fight continues.
Gov. Inslee is pressing hard for the Legislature to approve a state gas tax increase of as much as 10 cents a gallon or higher to pay for transportation projects across the state, even though most Washington citizens are against it. A Stuart Elway poll of 412 registered voters in March found that 72 percent oppose a higher gas tax. During my telephone town hall meeting on March 20, I asked this survey question: “House Democrats have proposed a 10 cent increase for each gallon of gas you purchase. Would you be willing to pay 10 cents more a gallon to help pay for transportation projects in the state?” Of those who responded, 92 percent said “NO!” And we have found similar opposition in poll after poll throughout the state. Yet the governor, Democrats, and unfortunately, some Republicans push on, ignoring the will of the people.
NOW IS YOUR CHANCE TO SAY “NO” TO A GAS TAX INCREASE. Senate Transportation Committee Co-chairs Sen. Curtis King, R-Yakima, and Sen. Tracey Eide, D-Federal Way, have announced a statewide “listening tour” in seven Washington cities, between Sept. 17 and Oct. 9.
HERE ARE THE DATES/TIMES/PLACES FOR EASTERN WASHINGTON:
6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on:
- Sept. 23 – Wenatchee
Chelan County PUD Auditorium, 327 N. Wenatchee Avenue
- Sept. 24 – Yakima
Yakima Area Arboretum, Garden View Room, 1401 Arboretum Drive
- Oct. 2 – Spokane
Greater Spokane Incorporated, 801 W. Riverside
WHY RAISE THE GAS TAX WHEN…
Two months ago, majority Democrats in the House approved House Bill 1954, which would have raised the state gas tax by 10.5 cents per gallon to generate new revenue for transportation. There are many things wrong with this proposal, not to mention that it would spend $21 million more on bicycle, pedestrian and transit projects than on the U.S. 395/North Spokane Corridor that we've waited since 1946 to be completed. It would have also placed Washington as having the highest gas tax in the nation. I voted against this bill in the House Transportation Committee and on the floor of the House.
2. Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) built a ramp in the wrong place.
Taxpayers are tired of seeing their hard-earned money frittered away with little or no accountability – and a stack of mismanagement problems that continue to build under the administration of WSDOT. Three years ago, WSDOT built a ramp in the wrong place in Tacoma and had to tear it out at the cost to taxpayers of $900,000.
3. WSDOT builds bridges that could sink and ferries that have trouble floating.
A new $76 million ferry, the Chetzemoka, was put into service with a noticeable list, earning it the nickname, “I-Lean.” And then we come to the incredible mismanagement of the new SR 520 floating bridge replacement – in which privately-contracted construction workers were drinking on the job, pontoons were poorly constructed with cracks and leaks, and the latest is that taxpayers will be on the hook for more than $400 million in cost overruns from the project.
5. A transportation budget is already in place
Just to be clear, the Legislature passed a 2013-15 transportation budget in April of $8.8 billion. Of that amount, $5.2 billion was appropriated for transportation projects. The new revenue package the governor is seeking would be in addition to the transportation budget already approved.
How can the Legislature, in good conscience, ask taxpayers for another dime or more a gallon when their current tax dollars are being squandered away?
We need to fix these problems and provide essential reforms to our state's transportation system before asking citizens for any additional money!
The Freedom Agenda stands for LOWER taxes
This state gas tax increase proposal by the governor and Democrats goes AGAINST The Freedom Agenda, which stands for LOWER taxes, less government and more freedom. I am concerned this gas tax proposal could be used as a political wedge to split conservatives from their traditional support groups – such as chambers of commerce, businesses, contractors and others that might be lured into this transportation revenue trap. Please make no mistake about it – this is WRONG for Washington.
We need reforms, NOT tax increases.
Please mark your calendar and attend the transportation listening tour in Spokane on Oct. 2. I look forward to seeing you there.