Letters to the Editor

Feedback: A gas tax by both parties

I don’t like to pay more taxes when the end result is no visible improvement in our government or the areas all of those taxes were supposed to improve. I resent not having control over how the money is taken and handed out or the complete waste we witness in all levels of government activity. One thing that is easy to comprehend is the folks of one party pointing the finger of blame at the other without any knowledge of what really transpired or who was involved in the act they are in disagreement with. The recently approved gas tax is a prime example of uninformed citizens blaming the Democrats when the facts are that it was a bipartisan effort.

After reading Nick Kiser’s letter to the editor, Whidbey News-Times, May 4, and Maureen Schwab’s letter of June 8, I decided to submit the actual facts on who created and voted for the gas tax. A visit to the Washington State Legislative web site to find the voting records of our elected House and Senate officials on SB 6103, the dreaded gas tax bill, produced some very interesting results, unless you are a Republican.

Nick Kiser stated that Barbara Bailey and Chris Strow voted against the gas tax, a bill co-sponsored by a Republican, Dan Swecker of the 20th District, and Democrat Mary Haugen of the 10th District. Why did they vote against the bill? Chris Strow, according to his office, voted against the 9.5 cent gas tax that was imposed over four years, as he wanted a four-cent per gallon maximum and the use of the tax money would not directly benefit the people of his district. He still wanted to tax you at a lower rate. Barbara Bailey did not respond to my e-mail. The gas tax we presently pay does not always benefit us directly, we do get a small portion for our roads, and most of the money benefits the roads and bridges we use to transit the state.

After a couple of calls to the state library and some help in locating information on the gas tax bill it turns out that the exalted Republicans are becoming more tax and spend than what is commonly touted by their supporters. The record of the State House shows 54 representatives for the tax and 45 against it. The breakdown is yeas: 31 percent Democrats and 23 Republicans. The nays: eight Democrats and 37 Republicans. The Senate had 26 for it and 22 against the tax. The yeas breakdown to: seven Republicans and 19 Democrats. The nays: seven Democrats and 15 Republicans. Where are those terrible tax and spend Democrats when this is clearly a bipartisan bill that was sponsored and voted in by both parties. Does this mean we have tax and spend Republicans also? Maybe it should be viewed as a bipartisan effort to repair and build roads and bridges that we need over the next few years.

Donald Bettner

Oak Harbor

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