Dino Rossi opposes I-912

[NWPT54]So where does Dino Rossi stand on the “No New Gas Tax” initiative?

I asked Kirby Wilbur that question this morning, because I believe it is at the heart of one of the more disturbing and dishonest rhetorical themes of the I-912 campaign. (You can listen to the clip here.) Long before Judge Bridges handed down his stinging rebuke of Rossi’s frivolous election contest law suit, both John and Kirby were busy harvesting anger over the disputed election in an effort to whip up public support for their initiative. Listen to the callers and comment threads on conservative talk radio and the right-wing blogs, and this theme is repeated again and again… that repealing the transportation package and the gas tax hike that pays for it is intended to “send a message” to Democrats in the Legislature and the Governor’s Mansion.

Problem is, this wasn’t simply a Democratic bill… its details were extensively negotiated with the Republican leadership, a number of whom personally voted for the bill, along with many of their caucus colleagues. This was a bill that simply could not pass without GOP support and complicity. Indeed, no less a vicious, partisan hack than GOPolitburo Chair Chris Vance himself defended the bill in an email reply to an angry rank-and-file Republican:

In this state, the gas tax is 100% dedicated to state highways. Many Republicans, therefore, have supported increased gas taxes on the theory that they are user fees and are needed to make crucial transportation improvements vital to our economy.

  • The Transportation section of our platform does not include language opposing increased gas taxes.
  • The Senate bill includes a performance audit of the DOT, which we strongly support.
  • Roughly 1/3 of the Republican members of the Senate voted in favor of this bill.
  • In 2002, the delegates to the State Convention voted to keep the WSRP neutral on Referendum 51, the proposal to raise transportation taxes.

Why would the Republican leadership support an increase in the gas tax? Because this package is about safety, because it is about competitiveness, and because it is the consensus of our state’s business leaders that without it, our transportation woes will get a helluva lot worse before they start getting any better. Take a gander at the businesses, business groups and chambers of commerce supporting the No on I-912 campaign, and then answer me this: what do Boeing, Microsoft, Washington Mutual, and Weyerhaeuser know about our state’s transportation infrastructure that John and Kirby don’t?

The Republican leadership supported this bill not out of hypocrisy or political dealmaking, but because they are genuinely pro-business and pro-growth, and because their allies in the business community convinced them that it was in the best interest of the state’s economy. The Republican leadership supported this bill because our state’s “competitiveness” was at stake, a loaded word that candidate Rossi wore thin during stump speeches throughout his campaign. So at a time when the anti-tax true believers are parading the Martyrdom of Saint Dino as an icon of their gas tax repeal initiative, isn’t it time Rossi himself came down from the Sammamish Plateau and took a public stance on this issue?

I have been assured by those who know and admire Rossi, that he is a straight talker who can be taken at his word, and so I can only assume that his refusal to openly support I-912, means that he does not support it. We have $250 billion worth of critical transportation infrastructure that is slowly being frittered away due to deferred maintenance, and it is hard to imagine how a “Governor” Rossi could live up to his promise to make WA state more competitive without having signed some sort of gas tax increase into law. His silence on this issue seems to me to be a clear indicator that he has no alternative to offer.

Of course, I could be wrong.

There is no question that Rossi is a candidate for governor in 2008, so if he is indeed a straight talker, and if he in fact supports repealing the gas tax increase, then we should expect him to come straight with voters regarding his break with the Republican leadership, and explain how he would address these needs differently than Governor Gregoire. That is the least we should expect from a wannabe “agent of change.”

As for John, Kirby and the rest of the “No New Gas Tax” campaign, I would hope that they would actually ask Rossi for his support, before implying his endorsement.

Comments

  1. 1

    windie spews:

    those evil damn liberals at Weyerhauser and Boeing! Damn them to hell for trying to ruin Washington business!

  2. 2

    pbj spews:

    So are we going to get s thread on how King County rigged a traffic study so their buddies at Quadrant could put in a housing development? Wait, aren’t the Democrats supposed to be against this sort of thing?

  3. 3

    pbj spews:

    Goldy,

    You are being dishonest. 7 republicans are not “several of their collegues”. And those Republicans are targeted for removal on the next election cycle.

    Trying to get the rest of the state pay for Seattle’s megaprojects if the true aim of the gas tax increase. You and yours can darn well pay tolls on the viaduct. Or perhaps trade in those $300,000 toilets and get back some of that dough you’re giving to billionaire Paul Allen.

  4. 4

    pbj spews:

    The Republican leadership supported this bill not out of hypocrisy or political dealmaking, but because they are genuinely pro-business and pro-growth, and because their allies in the business community convinced them that it was in the best interest of the state’s economy.

    You are talking out of both sides of your mouth Goldy. One day you criticize Republicans as if they will ruin the state and the next you say all they want “was in the best interest of the state’s economy”.

    Talk about whoring yourself out Goldy. Really. I thought you had some sort of principles.

  5. 5

    pbj spews:

    You are pissing in the wind if you think this is a partisan issue Goldy. All my family are more socialistic than you and they want to sign I-912. Trying to cast this as a partisan issue is a non starter. You should go with the claim that we will all die if we sign I-912.

  6. 6

    GeoCrackr spews:

    pbj @ 4

    1. “The Republican leadership” are not all Rethugs, as in “they all want”.

    2. Pro-business and pro-growth does not equal “in the best interest of the state’s economy,” no matter how much you’ve convinced yourself of that fallacy. Even moreso, “their allies in the business community” preying upon the Republican leaders’ belief in the fallacy of ‘pro-business and pro-growth = the best interest of the state’s economy’ does not make it so. Enron, as only the most egregious example, proved that to anyone paying attention.

  7. 7

    EvergreenRailfan spews:

    I guess Rossi has definately burned out all his credibility, now he opposes his party’s attempt to repeal something Gov. Gregoire got passed.

  8. 9

    All tools here, and yet there are still screws loose. spews:

    EvergreenRailfan @ 7

    “I guess Rossi has definately burned out all his credibility, now he opposes his party’s attempt to repeal something Gov. Gregoire got passed.”

    Are you that dense? Goldy had no proof that he felt one way or the other it was just an attention getting headline that was full of crap.

  9. 10

    righton spews:

    goldy; didn’t know you joined the gop and became rossi’s spokesman

    go back to spinning patty murry and the rest of your oafs

  10. 11

    Donnageddon spews:

    SO, righton, where does Rossi stand on this important issue? DO you know? Isn’t it important to know where the man you tried to wish into being govenor stands on an issue this important? Huh?

  11. 12

    righton spews:

    poorly written entry makes it so i really don’t knwo what the issue is; did Rossi say one thing and then another…trouble finding it in the long rambling post

  12. 13

    Terry J spews:

    So there is a bit of public outrage about the gas tax. Even the hippie barber is getting signatures.

    People remember the MVET, and the hundreds of dollars they paid to support transportation, and then they found out it was for meat inspectors.

    The policy wonks at Weyerhouser and Microsoft expect this misleading behavior from politicians, but Joe Sixpack doesn’t understand, so he signs petitions and votes against tax increases.

    The dock worker had a bumper sticker: “Don’t Steal — The Government Hates Competition!”

    It ain’t a partisan issue, except in the sense that the former AG wanted to pay off Seattle for the support by spending a lot of money there.

  13. 14

    spews:

    If he speaks up, he’ll move mountains. Either way. I think he needs to – as I listen to him on TVW.

    The mainstream Republicans probably muted the guy who voted for the 2003 5-cent gas tax increase… and then ran for gov’r and got respectability (in my book) for doing so.

  14. 15

    Richard Pope spews:

    Goldy,

    I would take the list of alleged supporters of Keep Washington Rolling that you linked us to with a grain of salt.

    http://www.keepwashingtonrolling.org/who.html

    Keep Washington Rolling alleges that the Port of Seattle, Port of Tacoma, and Port of Everett belong to their organization. This was rather surprising news, since all three are public agencies and it would be illegal for them to join a political committee of this sort under the PDC laws.

    I sent public records requests to the Port of Seattle, Port of Tacoma, and Port of Everett. The Port of Seattle and Port of Everett responded almost immediately, stating that their port commissions had not taken any position on I-912 (the gas tax repeal) and had not joined Keep Washington Rolling or authorized that group to use their names. I doubt that the response from the Port of Tacoma will be any different.

    If Keep Washington Rolling is telling such an obvious lie about three public agencies belonging to their organization, how can we believe a single work this group is saying about other matters?

  15. 16

    David spews:

    pbj grumbles his suspicion that “the true aim of the gas tax increase” is “to get the rest of the state pay for Seattle’s megaprojects” and snips, “You and yours can darn well pay tolls on the viaduct.

    First, pbj, we’ve discussed what’s in this transportation bill more than once, and assuming that you’ve actually been reading, you know that it addresses pressing safety, congestion and capacity issues across the state. That’s it’s “true aim,” plain and simple.

    Second, the SR-99 Viaduct and SR-520 are not “Seattle’s megaprojects.” They are State highways. Are you really so offended that there are State Routes connecting the places where most of the people in Washington live? It’s obnoxious, petulant and parochial to want to dump them off onto local taxpayers.

    By the same token, a disproportionate share of state transportation (road construction) dollars goes to the east side of the state. I don’t see Spokane volunteering to pay the full costs of all the road projects (expanding I-90, building a N-S freeway, etc.) there.

    But yes, we can pay tolls on the Viaduct, especially if they choose an option (like the tunnel) that’s more expensive than straight replacement. Tolls on new bridges are fairly common and not unexpected. But don’t pretend that we should put tolls on every road that needs replacing or improving; or else take the position that there should be tolls on every state road, statewide. Of course, we’d just call that a gas tax.

  16. 17

    Terry J spews:

    David:

    Make the case that Tolls are acceptable on a bridge the users don’t want, and that won’t increase capacity between Tacoma and the Olypic Peninsula, but unacceptable for Seattle’s Viaduct or Tunnel and the Evergreen Point Floating Bridge. As a matter of Public Policy.

  17. 19

    thehim spews:

    Man, I’m glad that PBJ is disagreeing with you again, Goldy. You and I agree on most things, but not everything, but if I ever end up on the same side of an issue as that clown, I know I’m wrong.

  18. 20

    headless lucy spews:

    Many Reps. are seemingly willing to cut off their own prophylactic-free dicks in order to galvanize a “the base.”

  19. 22

    Donnageddon spews:

    I’m glad pbj took some time to sober up and think about what he has said. I was thinking we might need to call dispatch and see if we could some help for him.

  20. 23

    All tools here, and yet there are still screws loose. spews:

    Don your back!!!… and just as comically destitute as ever!
    Trying this hole PC thing you guys always push, but I don’t think I’m all that good at it, did it cushion the blow?

  21. 24

    spews:

    David:

    Make the case that Tolls are acceptable on a bridge the users don’t want, and that won’t increase capacity between Tacoma and the Olypic Peninsula, but unacceptable for Seattle’s Viaduct or Tunnel and the Evergreen Point Floating Bridge. As a matter of Public Policy.

    Comment by Terry J— 6/30/05 @ 8:25 pm

    Terry J:
    No.

    Comment by David— 6/30/05 @ 8:50 pm

    David/TJ– Taxes on gas paid by motorists are collected by the gas stations that dispense the gas. It would be easy to do a study to find out how much traffic on major roads in Seattle are for commerce versus local use. That way we can adjust the gas taxes in different localities to match the miles of roads there are in that same locality. It is a win-win situation. That way we can stop bickering about who in not paying their fair share. What do you say!

  22. 25

    Elvis is the King County spews:

    What hypocrisy! For a group of tree huggers why would you want to pay for bridges, tunnels and other automobile related infrastucture? I’m amazed that you all support the continued propagation of a petroleum based economy. Just imagine all of the new bike trails you could have!

  23. 26

    spews:

    The more I think of it the better my gas tax plan sounds. All you donks could have stickers on your cars proudly exclaiming that you pay the higher tax because you care. You can drive around with your chest puffed out… oh the beauty of it all!!

  24. 27

    Jerry Springer Jr. spews:

    CONGRATULATIONS, pbj!

    You’re the first winner of the JERRY SPRINGER AWARD for your outstanding display of contradictory logic and personal attacks lacking any factual basis:

    @4 – “You are talking out of both sides of your mouth Goldy. One day you criticize Republicans as if they will ruin the state and the next you say all they want was in the best interest of the state’s economy. Talk about whoring yourself out Goldy.”

    This argument is based upon the idea that policy development must operate in white/black, good/evil terms. Whether or not pbj privately thinks this way, his/her above statement fits in with the political strategy of Grover Norquist, who argues that conservatives can only succeed at the state level if they demolish any traces of bipartisanship. In Washington state, transportation policy has been one of the most likely areas where moderates of both parties could come to agreements (which, of course, have often been undercut by attacks from the left and right).

    @5 – “You are pissing in the wind if you think this is a partisan issue Goldy.”

    Uh, Goldy didn’t present this as a partisan issue – quite the contrary.

    @3 – “You are being dishonest. 7 republicans are not “several of their collegues. And those Republicans are targeted for removal on the next election cycle.”

    I don’t see where Goldy uses the term several, but my dictionary defines it as “more than two but not many.” Where’s the dishonesty? By the same token, most intra-party challenges fail because:
    1) the power of incumbency is generally invincible, and
    2) moderates generally win most of the time in most parts of the state. Let’s be honest: Washington is not the most likely state for a Norquist-style purge of the Republican Party.

    SPRINGER SAYS: You can tell when Goldy’s made a particularly effective argument when the trolls attack him personally without bothering to offer a substantive response. At least RUFUS@24 puts some interesting policy ideas on the table.

  25. 28

    Joe Sixpack spews:

    One item not discussed by either side is I-912 failure to seek repeal of ESSB 6103′s special fuel (diesel) tax increases. Why are I-912 sponsors sticking it to commercial ahulers?

    Rufus – fuel taxes are not collected by retailers; they are collected at the terminal rack by suppliers…

  26. 29

    Goldy spews:

    Joe @28,

    Because the intiative sponsors are more interested in “sending a message” by passing an initiative than they are in actually trying to fix anything. So they glommed onto the one issue that would rile up the troops the most.

    This is a monkeywrench initiative, pure and simple.

  27. 30

    Joe Sixpack spews:

    Injunction hearing today at 9:00 am in Thurston County Superior Court on I-912′s attempt to turn their initiative into a referendum. Should take about 5 minutes for Judge Wickham to toss this thing out. More I-912 contributions flushed… Brett Bader is getting as good as Eyman at fleecing the faithful.

  28. 32

    pbj spews:

    David@16,

    Second, the SR-99 Viaduct and SR-520 are not “Seattle’s megaprojects.” They are State highways. Are you really so offended that there are State Routes connecting the places where most of the people in Washington live? It’s obnoxious, petulant and parochial to want to dump them off onto local taxpayers.

    Well so is SR-16 a highway and the new narrows bridge will be paid for with tolls. Funny, I don’t recall there being a call for paying for that project with a gas tax. And it is more of a vital commerce link that the viaduct ever will be (you have to have map reading skills to understand that one). And to boot, they will collect tolls on the current bridge that was already paid off. Democrats made sure to change the existing state law that forbade charging tolls on projects we already own just so the construction company could increase their profits.

    You can’t have it both ways. When the narrows project was one the table, there was no call for “everyone pitching in”. But when the viaduct may need to be replaced so rich fatcats from downtown can get home 10 to their $500,000+ estates sooner, it is a transportation crisis.

  29. 34

    ConservativeFirst spews:

    David @ 16

    “Second, the SR-99 Viaduct and SR-520 are not “Seattle’s megaprojects.” They are State highways. ”

    I think the objection by many to the viaduct is that it’s not just infrastructure improvement. In wanting a tunnel, the City of Seattle is much like the Mariners asking for the retractable roof on Safeco field. Like the Mariners, the City of Seattle should pay for the bells and whistles, not the state taxpayper. While I see the esthetic value in replacing the viaduct with a tunnel, but it will mostly benefit the property owners near the waterfront that will suddenly have views of the Elliott Bay.

    I agree with you on 520, the state should be paying for this, but I fear another I-90 like project on MI. Huge extra costs to appease a rich, litigious, and noisy minority.

    Joe @ 28

    I’d say initiative sponsors likely chose to take on the gas tax increase only, as the courts would throw out the initiative as not being a single topic.

  30. 35

    spews:

    Rufus – fuel taxes are not collected by retailers; they are collected at the terminal rack by suppliers…

    Comment by Joe Sixpack— 7/1/05 @ 8:09 am

    Man your good six pack… your only partly right. General retail sales tax is collected at POS. This amounts to around 20 cents a gallon right now. Can you tell me where that money goes too. I will give you a hint.. it doesnt go to the general fund. If you guessed transportation you were right!!! I stick by original proposal. It would be super easy to implement.

  31. 36

    Richard Pope spews:

    Goldy,

    Take another look at the list of alleged supporters of “Keep Washington Rolling”:

    http://www.keepwashingtonrolling.com/who.html

    You will notice that it is approximately 2/3 smaller.

    “Keep Washington Rolling” had to remove 21 out of the 35 organizations, and 21 out of the 34 businesses that allegedly belonged to their political committee.

    Turns out that the vast majority of organizations and businesses that “Keep Washington Rolling” had listed as members had never authorized such “membership”. Not only that, most of them had never taken a position on Initiative 912 or even heard of “Keep Washington Rolling” in the first place.

    If “Keep Washington Rolling” can’t be honest with the public about which organizations and businesses belong to its organization, how can you trust what they have to say about the necessity for a gasoline tax increase or the projects for which the money will be spent?

  32. 37

    Bax spews:

    If “Keep Washington Rolling” can’t be honest with the public about which organizations and businesses belong to its organization, how can you trust what they have to say about the necessity for a gasoline tax increase or the projects for which the money will be spent?

    I agree with Richard that Keep Washington Rolling was really, really stupid to list a bunch of organizations that clearly couldn’t support them.

    But Richard, the no new gas tax site says that no projects will be completed. That’s clearly not true. So why aren’t you just as critical of them?

  33. 38

    Richard Pope spews:

    Bax @ 35

    While NoNewGasTax.Com is using simple words to describe rather technical language (such as that contained in laws passed by the legislature), their claims are substantially correct.

    Take a look at ESB 6103. Section 101 increases the gasoline tax from 28 cents to 37.5 cents per gallon over the next three years. Other sections increases numerous other taxes and fees.

    http://www.leg.wa.gov/pub/bill.....3-S.sl.htm

    Nothing in ESB 6103 says how a single penny of the money will be spent. Nor do any other state laws, including other bills adopted by the legislature this spring.

    Which projects the gasoline tax money gets spent on is entirely up to Governor Gregoire and the Secretary of Transportation — who now serves at the Governor’s pleasure.

    This used to be under the control of the state Transportation Commission. However, most of the powers of the Transportation Commission were eliminated in ESB 5513, and the appointment of the Secretary of Transportation was transferred from the commission to the governor.

  34. 39

    thor spews:

    It would be fun to know Dino’s views but they really don’t matter. He did support the gas tax as a state Senator in the same way – with an emergency clause that precluded the possibility of a referendum.

    Remember, the KVI initiative isn’t just about the tax, its about the WAY we were taxed. Dino has been a big backer of the gas tax and the WAY it happened. It helped him appear reasonable to editorial page writers in his losing campaign – most all the editorial page in the state support increasing gas taxes to keep pace with growth.

    KVI will use any public issue to fuel the soldiers in their initiative army. Dino is already washed up. So is this KVI initiative charade.

    It will be fun to know exactly how many signatures they actually collect.

    (Bader will probably never be accountible to his troops on this subject. But it might be nice for them to report their final tabulation on the radio for all those people who worked their hearts out to help them and Bader pay his mortgage.)

    And on the slim chance it qualifies for the ballot, the Keep Washington Rolling campaign will have only itself to blame for fueling a controversy that never really had much fire in the first place.

    Goldy did a great job with Kirby. Kirby appears to be too dumb to know how stupid this whole thing is, so we should all be kind to him. (He’s one of those guys who thinks the more volume you turn up on your thoughts, the better your argument. I had a boss like that once – for a short time.)

    The big question is John Carlson, why is he so overwrought about all of this and so apparantly irresponsible. Sometimes in the past he seemed so smart. Maybe he isn’t aging well. In the talk show business, you either make it and grow your career by growing listeners, or you lose listeners and become washed up.

    Hint: KVI has been losing listeners.

  35. 40

    Richard Pope spews:

    Regardless, Washington now has the nation’s highest gasoline tax at 31 cents per gallon as of yesterday, July 1, 2005.

    http://www.taxfoundation.org/taxdata/show/245.html

    We managed to pass Wisconsin at 29 cents and Rhode Island at 30 cents with the three cent increase effective on July 1, 2005.

    We will go up another 6.5 cents in the next three years, and should be several cents ahead of the nearest competitor at 37.5 cents per gallon on July 1, 2008.

    Perhaps it is appropriate for Washington to have the highest state gasoline tax in the country, since we have the most regressive state tax structure as well. But now that we have achieved that distinction, it would be better to relax and see if any other states want to follow our lead.

    I find it impossible to believe that Washington’s transportation system should be in such allegedly atrocious shape, that even another 6.5 cents beyond today’s 31 cent gasoline tax isn’t even going to solve half the problem. Are all the other states in worse shape than Washington?

    If not, then our problem is NOT having gasoline taxes that are somehow TOO LOW. Rather, the problem is in our state’s leadership. This is what happens when you leave the same group of clowns in charge for 25 years.

  36. 41

    Bax spews:

    Nothing in ESB 6103 says how a single penny of the money will be spent. Nor do any other state laws, including other bills adopted by the legislature this spring.

    Oh, really?

    http://www.leg.wa.gov/pub/bill.....1-S.PL.htm

    That’s the link for ESSB 6091, which allocates the money for the various projects funded by the revenue raised by ESSB 6103. In other words, the statement that the legislature didn’t pass a bill saying how the new gas tax revenue was to be spent is a lie.

    Richard, I’ll ask you the same question you asked above: if you can’t be honest about the bills passed by the legislature relating to transportation, why should anybody trust anything else you say? If you’re going to criticize Keep Washington Rolling for being dishonest, why aren’t you holding yourself to the same standard?

  37. 42

    spews:

    The big question is John Carlson, why is he so overwrought about all of this and so apparantly irresponsible. Sometimes in the past he seemed so smart. Maybe he isn’t aging well. In the talk show business, you either make it and grow your career by growing listeners, or you lose listeners and become washed up.

    Hint: KVI has been losing listeners.

    Hint: Heard of KTTH. KVI has not been losing listners to liberals that for sure.

  38. 43

    spews:

    I-912 – Republicans Agree! “Anyone who thinks of repealing the gas tax is not thinking”

    It seems the supporters of I-912, the initiative to repeal Washington State’s Road Safety and Repair program, have no logical argument to support their side.

    Chris Vance, the chairman of the Washington State Republican Party is against it. Even the…