Let me say at the outset that this was a carefully scripted, carefully orchestrated scam from the get go... a con job from the start.
The script called for Inslee to panic the people by announcing last year that he, unilaterally, was going to do something that he could not do, counting on the ignorance of the people on government process and the state constitution... as well as the Gruber-like "stupidity of the voters"... by threatening to jack up the gas tax by as much as $2.00 per gallon.
That Inslee and the left have zero interest in committing political suicide for the next decade by doing such a thing never seemed to enter into the equation, particularly when those who wanted the gas tax the most... the Senate GOP... began to carry Inslee's water for him.
The GOP Senate immediately came out with a gas tax scam that makes the CRC rip off look like a fender-bender.
Included within the Senate plan is language referred to as a "poison pill."
But as part of the deal, Senate Republicans have insisted that if Inslee began drafting a new fuel standard then hundreds of millions of dollars would be diverted from public transit into road projects. They contend the standard will drive up the price of gas and thus drivers should receive a greater share of the benefits in the package.The problem with that is four-fold:
First, once the money for any project, regardless of where it's going, is bonded out, that revenue stream CANNOT be interrupted.
Courts at every level all over the country have ruled thus, and as a result, if anyone even TRIES to implement this clause, it'll lose in the first court it's argued... and any court after that... as the Senate well knows.
Second, Inslee had no intention of doing this, since he knows he can't, legally, unilaterally collect any tax without legislative authority. That's why the bill to collect a carbon tax died in the House; the fact is that if he COULD collect such a tax without Legislative approval...
...then why did he have a bill in the House to allow the tax to be collected?
Third, presuming that Inslee COULD collect such a tax on his own, who in their right mind believes he would be stopped or dissuaded from doing so by an 11.9 cents per gallon tax when he could get a lot more, a lot faster, merely by waving his pen?
Fourth, the political fallout of such a move would be practically incalculable.
Such a tax at that level, and those behind it, would be reinforced to everyone who owns a car every time they filled up.
With the new gas tax, every time you put 20 gallons of gas into anything, you'd be sending WADOT $13.60 or so of the cost, no matter how much the price of gasoline goes up... as it inevitably will.
Put Inslee's $2.00 per gallon gas tax on it, and you'd be sending them $51.00 or so.
Residents of border counties would buy their gas in Oregon, Idaho and British Columbia. Such a decision would crush the dems around here to below super-majority levels. It would have made the Trade Authority fistfight (Where, come to think of it, it was the GOP who caved on that as well) look like a fender-bender and it would have crushed any possible reelection bid for Inslee and most other dems in this state, immediately turning this state from the deep purple color it is now to a pale pink.
This was the start of the conjob. And senators who took that message out... that they HAD to jack the gas tax to stop Inslee, are just as guilty of lying to us as he is.
Another part of the gas tax scam was the GOP Senate's "Transportation Reform Package," a package that has, for the most part disappeared, if sources are correct.
The two biggest reforms in sheer dollars were ending the Sales Tax scam where transportation dollars were shifted to the general fund through forcing sales tax to be paid on these state-financed projects... and getting rid of prevailing wage for these jobs, which has lined union pockets, subsequently getting democrats elected... while further raping the taxpayers.
We were told, repeatedly, by proponents of this scam that these two would save us well over a billion out of the $15 BILLION to be wasted for this fraud.
Well, none of that appears to be happening. But it sounded GREAT at town hall meetings, didn't it?
More following the PDF below.
|The GOP Senate's Swindle Sheet|
Then, of course, there was the Brad Owen Scam.
Owen, as Lieutenant Governor, is also President of the Senate.
He runs the senate (To the extent the GOP Leader lets him) and makes decisions on parliamentary procedure, points of order and the like.
The GOP Senate, concerned they didn't have the votes, had Owen declare the rule that THEY, the GOP SENATE IMPLEMENTED, unconstitutional.
The GOP Senate COULD have challenged the decision and overturned it by a simple majority (25) (and the GOP Senate has 26 GOP Caucus members) but they did nothing.
And they did nothing because they wanted Owen to make that particular ruling to get the gas tax passed.
Oddly, however, a month or so later when the general fund/operating budget came up for consideration, Owen suddenly reversed himself and voila'! The formerly UNconstitutional rule was now, inexplicably... Constitutional!
Now... why do you suppose Owen would do THAT?
We all certainly heard in the media of the Owen decision to throw the rule out for being "unconstitutional." (Which he has no right to do; he cannot determine the constitutionality of a rule or a bill... that's for the courts to decide.) But we did not hear a PEEP out of anyone that Owen had reversed himself on the general fund budget.
So, what was the cause of the media blackout on THIS minor detail?
No matter, I suppose.
Meanwhile, MY Senator, Ann Rivers, who ran on the following transportation platform back in 2012:
I believe in the concept that every dime of taxpayer money (meaning every dollar of revenue from whatever the source) should be squeezed until it screams. I will not support an increase in the gas tax. I will not support increases in tab fees. The people have spoken and I have listened. We will spend billions to move the tiniest number of people when we should be finding an implementing new and innovative ways to move the MOST number of people for the LEAST amount of money. Wasteful spending like that on the CRC is not what we want or need. Massive projects like that MUST have the permission of those who, allegedly, will “benefit” from such a project at the ballot box. At minimum, ALL of the financial impacts, including the obvious negative impacts on families and small business depending on the hundreds of dollars per year must be considered: not just the cherry-picked variety favored by proponents of light rail and replacing a bridge in the same location. The Rivers Wheels Plan: Transportation that WorksIn fact did that very thing.
She DID vote for an increase in the gas tax. She HAS voted for legislation that allows local municipalities to jack your tab fee... without a vote from you.
I am at a loss, personally. And this kind of thing is part and parcel as to why I left campaigning altogether a few months ago.
MEANWHILE, there was a staged set-piece drama, again, carefully scripted, where Inslee CAVED on his carbon tax scheme that he couldn't/wouldn't implement anyway and that he never had any intention of implementing, all to provide additional cover to the GOP Senate for their part of the scam.
All of this could have been avoided, of course, had the GOP Senate insisted on a referendum clause and avoided stupidly putting an emergency clause on this obviously non-emergency legislation.
Even I would have supported this legislation had the final word been left to us.
All the GOP Senate had to do was put this to a vote of the people. But as it turns out, the GOP Senate is just as terrified of the will of the people as the fringe-left they had defeated to take control
The end result?
Clark County gets 1.3% or so of the entire package ($200 million out of $15 BILLION) and half of that is spent on an unneeded, unwanted rebuild of the Mill Plain/I-5 Freeway intersection.
The likely result for the GOP, however, will have long-lasting ramifications.
I would never consider supporting anyone who voted "yes" on this rip off or was involved in setting up/implementing this con job.
For the GOP to treat the people precisely and exactly like the democrats they had replaced to take charge of the Senate is inexplicable and inexcusable. And my guess is they will now lose the Senate and cripple House chances in 2016 because of it.
This is precisely the same way the democrats were treating us on the CRC/Loot Rail scam because, well, hell... now we know for sure that NONE of those voting for this crap give a damn what we think.