Dear Friends and Neighbors,
A couple of weeks ago, I sent out an update that included a gas tax survey to find out what you think about the governor's plan to raise the gas tax by up to 10.5 cents per gallon. Here is a quick look at the results:
1) Would you be willing to pay 10 cents more per gallon of gas to pay for transportation projects around the state?
YES = 8.8%
YES, but only if… = 9.3%
(Comments included: “Only if…half of the total tax is used on the East Side of the state.” “100% of my gas tax was spent locally, not on the West side.” “Eastern WA has an actual voice in selecting the projects to be funded.”)
NO = 53.6%
NO, because… = 25.7%
(Comments included: “No because…gas prices are killing us as it is.” “We are paying too much for gas already. Lower income class is working for gas; some of them have 4-5 jobs! Does Jay Inslee even realize this?” “Tax, tax, tax – is there ever enough?” “Waste and fraud are rampant in DOT.” “We're already paying for two past gas tax measures to improve infrastructure and the majority of that went for King and Pierce County projects.”)
2) If you had to pay 10 cents more per gallon of gas, how would this impact you financially?
It would have a moderate impact on me financially, but I could probably afford it = 46%
It would have a negative impact on me financially and I cannot afford it = 42.4%
3) If our state moves forward with a transportation revenue package, please rank what you think the funding priorities should be:
#1 = Maintenance, including bridge and road preservation
#2 = New lanes for congested roadways
#3 = Large projects
#4 = Transit Agencies
#5 = More pedestrian and bike paths
#6 = Washington State Ferries
4) Please share your thoughts on these rankings.
(Comments included: “Large projects a priority only after current system is in order.” “How about some road work in Eastern Washington?” “Maintain current transportation routes, plan for future expansion/growth. Leave the 'feel good' ideas for last and IF monies are available.” “Shift existing funds from other spending rather than tax.” “Maintenance of our transportation infrastructure is not receiving enough funding.”)
5) The governor is pushing for a special session, before the regular legislative session scheduled for January 2014, to pass a transportation revenue package. Do you think a special session is necessary for this issue?
YES = 6%
YES, because… = 5%
(Comments included: “Yes, because…our bridges should be a priority.” “Safety won't wait forever.”)
NO = 64.2%
NO, because… = 17.8%
(Comments included: “No, because…this is routine business. Inslee needs to stop the grandstanding.” “Special sessions cost extra money that we don't need to spend.” “It is ridiculous because the Legislature meets in just two months.” “It's not a dire situation. How much do special sessions cost? Didn't he campaign on 'Lean Management'?” “To me it's just another example of politicians trying to get something passed before we the people know what hit us!”)
Again, I want to thank all of you who participated in my survey. I was not surprised to see that the vast majority (79.3%) of you DON'T WANT TO SEE THE GAS TAX RAISED and DON'T THINK WE NEED A SPECIAL SESSION to do so (82%). This is very close to the numbers I received back in February when I conducted a similar survey during my telephone town hall meeting (90% said NO to a gas tax increase). Rest assured I have no intention of supporting a gas tax increase at this time and I will forward your viewpoints to my colleagues and our governor.
Congratulations to Brian Sites, a social studies, mathematics and technology teacher at River's Edge High School in Richland! He is one of five educators across the nation to receive the 2014 Horace Mann Award for Teaching Excellence! Brian will be presented with $10,000 at the NEA Foundation's annual Awards Gala on Feb. 7, 2014 in Washington, D.C. Congratulations, Brian! And thank you – and all our educators – for your dedication to our children and the education needs of the next generation!
Thanks again for reading my e-newsletter. It is an honor to serve you in Olympia.