Monday, May 09, 2005

Gas Tax - voters strike back

Washington voters are angry; angry at poorly run elections and at representatives not representing voters. Olympia spends and spends; the state auditor is blocked from audits. When he audits, his office is hamstrung from making real changes. Then 2 things happened and the voters lashed out.

Egregious breaches in elections accountability and security led to a contested Governors race. Governor-elect, now plaintiff, Dino Rossi, was supported by a huge groundswell of popular support when voters across party lines called for a revote or new election.

Second, breaking campain promises, Christine Gregoire pushed through a 9.5 cent gas tax. Voters denied a 9 cent tax hike in 2002. In 2003, the powers that be gave us a 5 cent increase without letting the people vote on it. 2005 here we are again. The gas tax was hung with an emergency clause denying the people a referendum. Referendums have a lower requirement threshhold of signatures while giving collectors a longer period to collect them.

Denied referendum, a bloc of voters spurred on and organized by local radio hosts, began an initiative drive. They hoped to lay the groundwork for vollunteer networks and raise some money (25 grand) to start the process. If in three days (Wed-Friday) they got close to thier goal the planned on structuring for next year. If they met their dollar goal they would push ahead, hoping they had enough momentum to gain the signatures needed in the time allotted. As of Saturday they had raised approximately 80 grand (NOT pledged-RAISED
) and had 6000 vollunteers to collect signatures. The average contribution was 40 dollars. There were no large contributions (nothing over 2000). If only the signature gatherers already lined up were to gather two pages of signatures each, the requirement would be met. THREE DAYS, angry voters. Olympia watch out, you need to represent those you pledged to represent.

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