Monday, October 24, 2005

Paying Attention?

It's coming down to the wire for this election season, with some important initiatives on the Washington State ballot for voter approval (or denial). The most important of these is I-912 - "No New Gas Tax". The purpose of I-912 is to repeal the gas tax hike legislation enacted by newly minted Governor Gregoire this January.

The core of this bill is a graduated 9.5 cent per gallon tax hike over 4 years. This year's installment raised the tax paid in Washington to 31 cents per gallon. Anyone remember the bit about how you boil a frog? Yup ... just turn the heat up gradually, and the frog stays in the water. Well, we're not frogs, and we're not sitting still.

The worst part isn't that this gas tax was passed so quickly, or even that the Dems in the state government forced it through under a special (and bogus) Emergency Clause (to avoid a people's vote). It is that the gas tax isn't aimed at doing what is needed to reduce congestion - with much of the money tagged for repairs and Ferry/Railway improvements, not for new lanes or other additions.

And then, there is the no-longer-amusing political battle over the free use of the airwaves. You might recall the kerfuffle about local KVI talk show hosts Kirby Wilbur and John Carlson being forced to consider their radio-time as 'In-Kind contributions' to the petition drive in June. Thanks to Heartless Libertarian, we can see that the strangling of the First Amendment is taking place all over again.

Wake Up, Washington voters -- it's time to make your voice heard. If the PTB shut down the public voices, then the private ones need to keep the talk going!