Rossi “plan” unconstitutional

I haven’t yet had the time to study Dino Rossi’s newly unveiled transportation “plan,” but one element immediately leaped out at me:

Rossi proposed funding high-occupancy-vehicle projects on the Eastside by tapping Sound Transit money that would otherwise be used mainly to build a light-rail line from downtown Bellevue to Seattle.

Of course, such a proposal may have a certain appeal to Rossi’s anti-rail constituency, but if he really wants to be governor I suggest he put down those Discovery Institute and Washington Policy Center briefing papers, and take a little time reading the state Constitution:

The legislature shall have no power to impose taxes upon counties, cities, towns or other municipal corporations, or upon the inhabitants or property thereof, for county, city, town, or other municipal purposes, but may, by general laws, vest in the corporate authorities thereof, the power to assess and collect taxes for such purposes.

Um, see Dino, Sound Transit is a local government with local taxing authority, and the state simply cannot direct it how to use its revenue or its surplus. Local voters authorized ST to raise this money for a specific purpose, and only local voters can redirect these funds. Who is your legal adviser… Tim Eyman?

Promising to do something and having the legal authority to do something are two different things.


  1. 1

    Daddy Love spews:

    It’s a plan; it’s just not a responsible plan. Or a legal one, apparently, but when has a Republican ever supported a responsible OR legal plan?

  2. 2

    Daddy Love spews:

    BTW, in line with my comment in another thread: Dino’s going to simultaneously blame Chris Gregoire for a $2.4 billion budget shortfall while proposing to increase by another $10 billion (by raiding the General Fund for his tunnel and other DOT improvements).

  3. 3


    Rossi just threw this out there so he could complain about Christine. His only plan, like every other Republiconvict is to rape and pillage, and make their friends richer.

    Just look at all the land deals the current lands commissioner handed off to his friends. All the “deals” that have been scrubbed from their website…..

    The only reason Washington State is not sinking with the rest of the country is because DEMOCRATS ARE IN CHARGE.

    Rossi=Bush=McCain=Dirtbags that all belong behind bars. Calling yourself a Republiconvict these days is the same thing as pleading guilty to their countless crimes. May you fuc*ing burn in hell. Every one of you. Leave running the country to the adults that don’t have to lie with every breath, or destroy evidence with every action.

    Where are all them emails by the way????

  4. 4

    correctnotright spews:

    Shame on you – you know that the constitution (or any constitution) has never been an impediment for republicans to whatever they want – just look at how Bush has trampled the fourth amendment’s search and seizure language.

  5. 5


    Can you imagine what will happen when we get a justice department actually investigating crimes instead of just performing voter suppression full time?

    Hey Dino. The only fraud in the last governor’s election was you pretending to be a moderate, and then crying like a baby. Wahhhhhhh I didn’t win wahhhhhhhhhhhhh. By the way. How come your operative wasn’t prosecuted for lying and attempting to purge 1,350 legitimate voters from the rolls? Oh I forgot. Republiconvict Attorney General. We gotta do something about that too.

  6. 6

    Particle Man spews:

    I wish I could join in the celebration over Dino’s constitutional “error”.
    The fact is though that this was no error at all. Dino knows full well that Sound Transit was created by empowering legislation passed prior to when he took office and he has twice tried to kill off the agency.
    No, this was not an error.
    It was fraud.
    Simple fraud.
    Dino, has made his money putting lipstick on pigs and using every other trick to close a sale and voters often fall for such treachery.

  7. 7

    drool spews:

    Nice one, Goldy.

    I heard a broad overview of the “plan” on the radio today and it didn’t pass the smell test even then when I was half asleep.

    What a joke. Sounds like it will be funded like federal GOP stuff……credit card.

  8. 9

    Tlazolteotl spews:

    Of course the local media will be all happy to help him try to sell his snake oil once again…

    Actually, when they did a story on it this morning on KUOW, they had someone from the UW on who basically said Rossi was pulling numbers out of his butt and then waving his hands to disperse the smell. He didn’t use those exact words, but they were very much to that effect.

  9. 10

    screwedher libby spews:

    April Fools’ Day was a couple weeks ago, Goldy…

    WTF? All it takes to get the NeoMarxist Monkies in a rage is to string the words Unconstitutional and (any Republican).

    First of all, the base of your unconstitutional argument falls under article XI which deals with COUNTY, CITY, AND TOWNSHIP ORGANIZATION.

    Where in his plan does Rossi say he’s going to impose any tax? ST taxes have already been imposed, at the voters approval under the umbrell of transportation projects. Furthermore, the taxes will be spent on that region, hardly a scandal there.

    Here’s the bigger issue: Rossi has got the Democrats chasing their own tail. He’s addressed just enough of every issue to not only make sense, but to fracture the Dems on issues that have already got them at each other’s throats. He’s got a Tunnel in Seattle, he’s got environmental concessions for Salmon, and biggest of all he’s got the perception that there is not only hope for the mess that is ST gridlock but that he can actually make a decision.

  10. 11

    ArtFart spews:

    “Rossi was pulling numbers out of his butt and then waving his hands to disperse the smell.”

    Hmph….what’s the political equivalent of Purell? Whatever it is, we’re going to need several supertankers’ full of the stuff.

  11. 12

    eponymous coward spews:

    Here’s the bigger issue: Rossi has got the Democrats chasing their own tail. He’s addressed just enough of every issue to not only make sense, but to fracture the Dems on issues that have already got them at each other’s throats. He’s got a Tunnel in Seattle, he’s got environmental concessions for Salmon, and biggest of all he’s got the perception that there is not only hope for the mess that is ST gridlock but that he can actually make a decision.

    Right, because an 8 lane bridge in Montlake is going to be SOOOOOO popular there. And it’s not like the Speaker of the House is from that legislative district, and can completely squash Rossi’s plan (assuming Rossi actually WINS his election, which I still think is unlikely), right?

    Na. Guh. Ha. Pen.

    As for “ST gridlock”, last I checked, the first round of light rail’s almost built. So much for gridlock.

  12. 13

    Transit Voter spews:

    shl @10, Rossi says HE’s going to redirect the Sound Transit revenues in the East King County subarea, something he plainly does not have the power to do, nor does the Legislature.

    Only the voters of the ST district have the power to do that, and I suspect those voters will not choose to shift hundreds of millions of transit dollars into more highway construction.

    The bigger flaw, however, as has been pointed out, is here’s this good Republican, complaining on the one hand how Gov. Gregoire has created a General Fund budget that will be $Xb out of balance in the out years, and then on the other hand, he proposes a transportation funding scheme that takes $4-5Xb out of the General Fund to build highway facilities!

    All without even the courtesy of telling us what General Fund programs (K-12 education? Prisons? Health Care? Welfare?) he would cut to make up the difference. Or what taxes he would raise to avoid draconian cuts.

    Who’s he taking fiscal advice from, the W himself?

  13. 14

    eponymous coward spews:

    Goldy, I think the idea goes something like this…

    – ST is turned into the Regional Transportation elected body that Rossi proposes, and as part of that legislation…
    – They’re told “build some HOV lanes on the Eastside”.

    Of course, what the dumbass Republicans NEVER understand is that the point of rail is that it works during traffic jams, and provides people with ways to get to work/home without adding to traffic problems- and as Phoenix, Houston and LA demonstrate, you can have 12 lane freeways that are jammed morning, noon and night. Adding lanes just subsidizes more traffic. It’s at best a temporary fix.

  14. 15


    Ah, Mr. Libby. You have just managed to disprove my assumption that in order to type in English, one must first learn to read the language.

    Sound Transit is a separate taxing authority, with specific rules and guidelines, and the money it raises through those taxes may not be taken and used by other governmental authorities, such as the Department of Transportation.

    Essentially, the money can be used by Sound Transit to build a public transit system, but not by DOT to build roads. That would require a public vote (at least) to change Sound Transit’s governing authority.

    Assuming that Mr. Rossi is not an idiot, then he must know this, just from his limited experience in government. That would mean that he’s lying to you wingnuts (as he knows that the rest of us aren’t likely to vote for him anyway) and he’s assuming that you folks are idiots.

    Which is perhaps the only opinion that he and I share.

  15. 16

    ArtFart spews:

    Rossi’s political thinking appears to be based on ignorance of the fact that while the federal government has the authority to print money, the states do not.

  16. 17

    Tlazolteotl spews:

    Hell, JB, give me a keyboard map and I can type in lots of languages I don’t read! I’ve already done Sanskrit, Vietnamese, Arabic, and Russian (OK, I can sound out words in those last three without necessarily knowing what they mean). But I agree with you, reading comprehension is not one of Mr. Libby’s strong points.

  17. 18

    SeattleJew spews:

    In the meantime, whatever idiot is running Gregoire’s campaign allowed Rossi to get out there with a plan while she appears to have none?

    Is she using Mark Penn?

    Moreover, remember Rossi wants to get votes from Eastern W .. she nees those too. A “Responsible Plan” may read a lot beet in Yakimah then here.

    Maybe, maybe Dino is being a shit and this is a phony plan … does that really matter if it looks real?

  18. 19

    Tlazolteotl spews:

    And I still wonder how Rossi proposes to make up for the Federal highways funds the state will lose if McCain were to win and suspend the gas tax, as he has proposed. Oh, Dino! Wave your hands some more!

  19. 20

    Tlazolteotl spews:


    IF the press will do its job, I think within a week or two, this ‘plan’ will have been sufficiently digested, shat out, and exposed as the steaming turd that it is. There is no ‘there’ there.

  20. 21



    Good point about the typing. I could probably manage to type out something written entirely by another person, regardless of the language.

    Could it be that Mr. Cynical’s posts are actually written by another person, and he has no idea what he is posting?

  21. 22


    Maybe if Rossi is lucky, he can be shackled to MCCain…..

    Anyone stupid enough to buy Rossi’s lies should be instantly sent to Iraq to guard “our” oil!

    I just love how McCain doesn’t support the new gi bill because it helps vets so much they may want to leave the service, and that won’t work in his fantasy future wars scenarios!

    I bet that old man will drop before November. He can barely walk now…..

  22. 25

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @2 I’d like to know how Dino thinks he can extract $500 million a year from the General Fund for 30 years. Is he planning to shut down the prisons and dump all the killers, kidnappers, robbers, and rapists onto the streets? Or does he believe he can extract a $1,000-a-month “bed tax” from elderly nursing home patients who are on Medicaid because they have no income or assets? His gold-plated roads plan sounds like bullshit to me! He must have hired a light rail flack to write his press releases for him.

  23. 26

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Dino Rossi is no more qualified to be governor than Jane Balogh or her dog. It’s unbelievable that anyone would even consider voting for this shmuck! Unfortunately, in a democracy you have to let everyone vote, even if they have the intelligence of a weevil.

  24. 27

    rhp6033 spews:

    Funny, the similarities between Rossi’s “Plan” and McCain’s “tax holiday”. Neither one really provides a way to pay for it, and both can’t be accomplished in the way they propose.

    McCain’s proposal to have a “gas tax holiday” this summer has the additional perplexing detail that the summer will be over before the election will. By definition, he’s making a promise he won’t – and can’t – do anything about.

  25. 28

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    From Rossi’s official website:

    “Gregoire supports every project listed in Dino’s plan. The difference between them is that he has a plan to finance the projects and she doesn’t. … Dino … plan[s] to find 2% efficiency in the state’s $33 billion budget in order to fund these projects …”

    The state budget is roughly $33 billion for the next biennium, i.e., two years. 2% of that is $330,000,000 a year. That’s how much Rossi would have to extract from the budget to spend $9.9B of General Funds on roads over the next 30 years.

    Raw budget numbers are misleading because many state agencies are funded from dedicated revenue streams. For example, Fish & Wildlife gets a large share of their budget from fishing and hunting license sales, and the Gambling Commission is wholly funded by gambling license fees. These funds legally aren’t available for General Fund purposes, and the rationale for charging these fees would vanish if the services they support went away. Close to 30% of total state revenues come from federal funds, most of which are matching funds earmarked for specific programs which can’t be spent on anything else. The General Fund revenue stream accounts for only about half of the budget, and $330 million exceeds the annual budgets of all but the largest state agencies. To raise that kind of money in budget savings, Rossi might have to eliminate dozens of agencies, all of which provide useful services that are important to our state’s economy and our citizens’ well-being.

    The Republican mantra that government budgets are bloated is nothing but empty rhetoric. Washington’s state government has been financially strapped for as long as anyone can remember. The budget has been gone through for cost savings with a fine-toothed comb countless times over the last 25 years, and no nickel has been left unturned. Restrictions on travel and use of state vehicles are unbelievably tight compared to the private sector. State managers and lawyers don’t have private secretaries, and never did. There are no perks like health club memberships or free child care for anyone in state service. Whatever fat that ever existed was stripped out of the budget years ago, the meat not long after, and all that exists today is a ribcage.

    Rossi is blowing smoke out of his ass by claiming he can find $330M a year of cost savings in state government without cutting vital services.

    Meanwhile, Timmy Lieman wants to extract $150M a year from already-strapped municipal budgets to synchronize traffic lights to speed up traffic. If his stupid initiative passes, it will very directly lead to fewer cops on traffic patrol or crime protection, because public safety is what municipal revenue mostly pays for.

    When Republicans claim they can build roads or institute expensive new programs at no cost to taxpayers, they’re lying. What they really want to do is take money from our priorities (like K-12 education, health care for poor kids, etc.) and spend it on their priorities. And their priorities often are frivolous compared to the programs they want to rob to get “mad money” for their flings. That’s certainly the case with Lieman’s initiative, and to a considerable extent that’s true of Rossi’s transportation plan as well.

    Voters shouldn’t buy this wormy pig.

  26. 29

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Rossi’s invidious scheme to defund state government is somewhat clever. Once the bonds are sold and the $330 million a year is committed to debt service, that money can no longer be spent on General Fund functions of state government. Undoubtedly Rossi and his handlers are hoping this will lock in permanent reductions in state spending on things they philosophically oppose, such as public education and health care for poor kids.

    But they are too clever by half. It’s extremely unlikely that 30 years’ of future legislatures would uniformly and consistently go along with the spending reductions Rossi is trying to inflict on state programs by expropriating the money for transportation projects. If Rossi’s $330,000,000-a-year raid on the General Fund succeeded, one or more future legislatures would almost certainly make up the difference with tax increases. And those would be Rossi’s tax increases, because he made them inevitable.

    So, don’t believe Dino when he claims that he can buy $9.9 billion worth of roads without raising taxes. If his plan is implemented, a multi-billion-dollar increase in state taxes is virtually built into future budgets. No one should fool themselves into thinking that anyone other than Dino Rossi is responsible for those tax increases.

  27. 31

    Tlazolteotl spews:

    McCain’s proposal to have a “gas tax holiday” this summer has the additional perplexing detail that the summer will be over before the election will.

    [smacks self on forehead] Doh!

  28. 35

    Daddy Love spews:

    Edcuational funding has the priority in this state. The state’s constitution will not allow the state to abandon its responsibility toward edutation.
    Examples (source: )

    It is the paramount duty of the state to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders, without distinction or preference on account of race, color, caste, or sex.


    …the entire revenue derived from the common school fund and the state tax for common schools shall be exclusively applied to the support of the common schools.

    and here are the state revenue sources that you cannot touch for anything other than education:

    Appropriations and donations by the state to this fund; donations and bequests by individuals to the state or public for common schools; the proceeds of lands and other property which revert to the state by escheat and forfeiture; the proceeds of all property granted to the state when the purpose of the grant is not specified, or is uncertain; funds accumulated in the treasury of the state for the disbursement of which provision has not been made by law; the proceeds of the sale of stone, minerals, or property other than timber and other crops from school and state lands, other than those granted for specific purposes; all moneys received from persons appropriating stone, minerals or property other than timber and other crops from school and state lands other than those granted for specific purposes, and all moneys other than rental recovered from persons trespassing on said lands; five per centum of the proceeds of the sale of public lands lying within the state, which shall be sold by the United States subsequent to the admission of the state into the Union as approved by section 13 of the act of congress enabling the admission of the state into the Union; the principal of all funds arising from the sale of lands and other property which have been, and hereafter may be granted to the state for the support of common schools. The legislature may make further provisions for enlarging said fund.
    There is hereby established the common school construction fund to be used exclusively for the purpose of financing the construction of facilities for the common schools. The sources of said fund shall be: (1) Those proceeds derived from the sale or appropriation of timber and other crops from school and state lands subsequent to June 30, 1965, other than those granted for specific purposes; (2) the interest accruing on said permanent common school fund from and after July 1, 1967, together with all rentals and other revenues derived therefrom and from lands and other property devoted to the permanent common school fund from and after July 1, 1967; and (3) such other sources as the legislature may direct.

    Good luck with that, Dino.

  29. 36


    Daddy Love. It looks like Gregoire is kicking ass and taking names. What was the Forbes thing? Our state government 5th best (efficient) in the nation? All the time supporting the environment, job creation, and attempting to fix our education problems. Not to mention how our housing problems are nothing close to what the rest of the country is suffering through.

    Gregoire for President! After 8 years of Obama of course!

    Let Dino cry like a widdow babee. Wahhhhhhhh!!!!! I wun… Wahhhhhh!!!!

    The word Republican means “dishonest on every level”. Their whole mantra is a fraud from their smaller (larger) government to raising taxes on the poor in costs to give tax breaks to their ultra rich buddies, scaring up votes with fake terror alerts (I can provide links) claiming to be conservative when every single action they take is the opposite. Race baiting, and fearmongering. Bush adding 5 TRILLION to the national debt in 7 years. Now there’s a decider.

    The whole party is one big sickening fraud from top to bottom. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this out.

    We need to eliminate the GOP from the planet, and then start fixing the dems, who have a bunch of their own problems.

    Who do you support? Disorganized dems or a criminal enterprise the GOP. Take your pick. You only get one choice.

  30. 37


    If I was Rossi, I would quit. His campaign will be more sad than Mike!s was. How pathetic. I loved listening to McDick Breath talking about how removing Saddam made us safer. What a tool.

    Hey Rossi. Give it up. There aren’t enough retards left that think the Republiconvicts belong in office.

    Just because the fools in eastern washington don’t pay attention, doesn’t mean they are so stupid they will support you for Governator.

    You might as well sell your snake oil to the only people that will buy it. Evangelicals!!!!

  31. 39

    ByeByeGOP spews:

    Most of the right wing trolls are even smart enough to stay off this thread because they know Dino is an idiot.

  32. 40

    mark spews:

    Just think how much we could save if we didn’t have to feed all the democrats who don’t
    contribute. I say let them starve to death,
    I’m tired of paying for it. Grind em into biodiesel.

  33. 41

    ex-Rossi voter spews:

    Rossi’s plan cites “27 projects” the state was “supposed to fund.”

    This list comes from the guy who helped make me ditch the Republican Party: Kemper Freeman. Besides Freeman hosting Karl Rove at his office a couple years ago, I’ve been following Freeman’s pixie dust transportation ideas lately. And there isn’t much to like.

    Kemper Freeman grossly underestimates the real costs of building all the roads he wants. He also doesn’t factor in the huge ($2 billion per year in WA) operating costs required to maintain what we have now.

    Furthermore, I see Dino Freeman whining about 10’s of billions of dollars worth of pavement which were “supposed” to be funded, but I cannot, for the life of me, discovery who exacly was supposed to pay for his $25 billion 405 concept. Or the $20 billion I-605 freeway, which would have likely bisected land I’ve owned for more than 20 years.

    In my book, real Republicans find a realistic way to pay for their ideas. Dino Rossi seems to have adopted Kemper Freeman’s “get somebody else to pay for it” theory. Which is ludicrous.

    Interesting how Rossi also promotes the use of hybrid vehicles – all well and good, but which cause gas tax revenues to plummet because of their fuel efficiency.

    Four years ago I defended Rossi against people who claimed he was an empty suit. Reading through Rossi’s so-called “plan”, I’ve come around to agree with many of his critics.

    The Rossi Plan isn’t a plan at all. It’s a random mishmash cobbled together by his campaign advisors. A tunneled Viaduct? Didn’t we vote that down 70-30 ??? Sorry, but this is not my idea of visionary thinking.

  34. 42

    ex-Rossi voter spews:

    First of all, the base of your unconstitutional argument falls under article XI which deals with COUNTY, CITY, AND TOWNSHIP ORGANIZATION.

    Screwed her libby:

    Son, you need to get yerself a real legal opinion. Sound Transit is considered a municipal corporation, just like counties, cities and townships.

    Frankly, I’m surprised Rossi’s minions couldn’t muster much of a defense on HA. This blog usually serves as an excellent magnet for just about every rabid Republican out there.

  35. 43


    What an amazing and rewarding treat it is to see someone on this side of the spectrum refer to the Washington State Constitution as a basis for objecting to the government’s exercise of power, even if it is a long shot proposal. The plain language of the state constitution prohibits the state from taxing any municipal government; in 1889 they knew there was a good reason to stop government, we need to relearn the reason today.


  36. 44

    rhp6033 spews:

    41: I haven’t been paying any attention to Kemper Freeman’s politics, but perhaps I should.

    Also, whenever a Republican speaks, I should keep my hand on my back pocket, because he’s probably trying to lift my wallet for his personal benefit.