Received Mar. 28, 2015 by email
It’s been known since he lied his way into the Mayor’s office, campaigning strongly opposing tolling the proposed CRC light rail bridge project, only to flip to supporting tolls shortly after winning that he is solidly in the pocket of special interests seeking to gain Billions off of the backs of the middle class in Clark County.
Now, with the project sitting in a zombie, undead status, special interests desperately trying to resurrect it after the Washington State Senate, heeding input from taxpayers, declined to approve a multi-Billion dollar tax package to include Washington’s portion of funding the CRC, Leavitt pulls what should be a stake through the heart of his effort to be reelected.
All of the whining, crying and gnashing of teeth won’t help now, only divine intervention will breathe any life into the CRC and Inslee’s massive $10 Billion Transportation package to heaped on the backs of struggling middle class voters across the state with a 10.5¢ gas tax increase and other fee increases to fund it.
The Senate Coalition majority held fast and remained unified today as efforts get some to change their minds failed.
An AP report, Wash. Senate leaders decline $10B transpo plan indicated the final nail in the coffin late this afternoon.
How they voted;
Yeas: 51 Nays: 41 Absent: 0 Excused: 5
Voting Yea: Representatives Appleton, Bergquist, Blake, Carlyle, Clibborn, Cody, Farrell, Fey, Fitzgibbon, Freeman, Goodman, Green, Habib, Hansen, Hudgins, Hunt, Hunter, Jinkins, Kagi, Kirby, Liias, Lytton, Maxwell, McCoy, Moeller, Morrell, Morris, Moscoso, Ormsby, Orwall, Pedersen, Pettigrew, Pollet, Reykdal, Riccelli, Roberts, Ryu, Santos, Sawyer, Seaquist, Sells, Springer, Stanford, Sullivan, Tarleton, Tharinger, Upthegrove, Van De Wege, Wylie, Zeiger, and Mr. Speaker
Voting Nay: Representatives Alexander, Angel, Buys, Chandler, Condotta, Dahlquist, DeBolt, Dunshee, Fagan, Haigh, Haler, Hargrove, Harris, Hawkins, Hayes, Holy, Hurst, Klippert, Kochmar, Kretz, Kristiansen, MacEwen, Magendanz, Manweller, Nealey, Orcutt, Overstreet, Parker, Pike, Ross, Schmick, Scott, Shea, Short, Smith, Stonier, Taylor, Vick, Walsh, Warnick, and Wilcox
Excused: Representatives Crouse, Hope, Johnson, Rodne, and Takko
Representative Jim Moeller (D. Portland/Vancouver) sent out his usual spin the truth email this evening titled House Passes Budget – Senate Does Not Act laying all blame for a budget agreement not being reached on Republicans, as usual.
In the email, Moeller claims,
“Majority elected House Democrats have advanced substantial steps toward middle, compromise ground in striving for agreement with Senate Republicans.”
“I stand for our House budget that puts children-in-need before tax breaks, that maintains strong funding for our schools, and that preserves a stable foundation supporting basic human services while addressing our immediate needs.”
Ah yes, the usual “it’s for the children” again.
What Moeller leaves out is the steps the Senate Coalition Majority has taken to actually have another responsible budget and not just the regular burdening of the middle class with more tax hikes they can ill afford.
Ignoring the concerns of their constituents in the 49th Legislative District, all 3 Democrats elected to represent us have now vowed to cast our concerns aside, continue ignoring our voices and work as hard as possible to screw us over to ensure funding of the highly unpopular Columbia River Crossing light rail project.
An email received from rookie Senator Annette Cleveland today says, “We are working hard to fund the Columbia River Crossing”, concluding with “Rep. Moeller, Rep. Wylie and I will continue to work on CRC funding throughout the special legislative session to ensure that our state meets the September deadline and qualifies for the $850 million in federal funds. Anything less would be fiscal lunacy and a terrible mistake for our community’s future.”
That voters have rejected every funding measure proposed and outright rejected light rail itself back in 1995 doesn’t enter into the equation.
UPDATE: Orcutt has apologized for making the comment to the cyclist, but doesn’t retract the claim made.
It’s not often that I applaud a legislator for a tax increase, but when I see one throwing blatant hypocrisy back in the faces of those who deserve it, I have to give them credit for doing so.
Washington State 20th Legislative District Representative Ed Orcutt, a Republican has done just that and has the ardent bicyclers up in arms as Washington State Democrats are proposing a slew of tax and fee increases for an ambitious transportation bill.
Their measure also includes a $25 tax to be charged on bicycles costing over $500 along with a 10 cent per gallon increase in the gas tax, an increase in excise tax on car licenses, a hike in the hazardous substance tax and new county auditor fees for car license tabs and title transfers.
While many bicyclists aren’t all that much opposed to the increases, they are becoming very outspoken in opposition to a tax on their preferred mode of transportation, bicycles.
Under performing just as expected, word is out that Monica Stonier, newly elected Democrat in the 17th Legislative District who narrowly defeated Republican Julie Olson for the seat left open when Tim Probst narrowly lost his bid to oust Senator Don Benton blew off the first four votes in the House, those vote being listed as “probably the most important votes this month.”
One was for an amendment to house rules to make the 2/3 majority vote for tax increases that 64% of voters approved part of rules. Stonier wasn’t there. The amendment failed along party lines.
Shortly after the vote, Tim Eyeman, who has sponsored the initiatives and got the petitions to the people for us to vote on the initiative, issued a press release that says,
By a margin of 89-8, the Senate voted to pass the “compromise” bill, averting the so-called fiscal cliff.
In the deal, that no Senators really had time to read, we see the offer of $1 in spending cuts for every $41 in new taxes.
The bill heads to the House now, who may vote either Tuesday or Wednesday.
The 8 voting against the deal are Bennett D-CO; Carper D-DE; Grassley R-IA; Harkin D-IA; Lee, R-UT; Paul R-KY; Rubio R-FL & Shelby R-AL.
Far leftists like Moveon.org are upset over the deal, not seeing the rich being hit for even more taxes.
BOHICA America, Greece here we come.
NO doubt, Jim Moeller will see it as another “glorious moment.”
A citizen perspective by Margaret Tweet
For the last few years, I’ve followed the proposed light rail extension from Portland to Vancouver via meetings by CTRAN, the Regional Transportation Council (RTC), the Washington Policy Center, the Cascade Policy Institute, and town halls on transportation issues. Precious little discussion is held on the true transportation needs of our region by the government agencies that propose costly solutions. Instead of thoroughly examining present conditions, the focus is on rosy predictions for 2030 and 2035 and the most costly transportation options possible. CTRAN, RTC, and the contractors that will benefit have a dream, and they expect Clark County taxpayers and businesses to pay for it. The CTRAN and RTC boards that oversee the agencies include all 3 county commissioners and select city council representatives. Following is information I’ve gleaned and offer to fellow citizens.
Vancouver Mayor Leavitt and State Representative Moeller have oft declared that light rail is required on the proposed CRC I-5 bridge replacement. Recently, WADOT Director Paula Hammond clarified at the October CRC oversight committee meeting that light rail is a “political” requirement placed on the project by Oregon. In the Tuesday Nov. 6 election, WA voters have a say on light rail via CTRAN proposition 1. The CTRAN proposition is to raise the Clark County sales tax to extend Portland’s TriMet light rail into Clark County and add costly $Million 60 foot bendable buses to the CTRAN fleet. If voters approve the High Capacity Transit taxing authority, the CTRAN long term plan is to extend light rail and 60 foot bendable busses in Clark County.
In politics the term is also widely known and has been used to describe several politicians of all parties that scandals just slide off of, not sticking, not being held accountable. President Reagan, Tony Blair, B.J. Clinton, Vladimir Putin, Ma Ying-jeou and Angela Merkel for just a few of the more well-known examples.
We also cannot forget well known Crime Boss, John Gotti was referred to as the “Teflon Don” for his many scrapes with the law that he slid through until finally convicted of murder in 1992.
The term “Teflon” has been used numerous times to those “slippery” characters that seem to just do whatever they wish with total impunity, either from the law or scrutiny by the media or fellow public servants. But who would have ever thought that our small community, Vancouver, Washington would find itself being able to apply it to one of our own public officials, the mayor Tim Leavitt.
Clark County voters resoundingly rejected extending Portland’s light rail line to Vancouver in 1995 by a 2 to 1 margin. Twice more, in 2002 and 2004, voters in Clark County defeated measures perceived to be a back door for extending light rail to Vancouver, Resolution 51 being a statewide measure in 2002 defeated statewide and a C-Tran Proposition 1 defeated in 2004.
In spite of that, a small handful of elected officials decided amongst themselves to give the go ahead for extending light rail with their “locally preferred alternative,” ignoring and bypassing voters’ intent in 2008.
Then city council member, Tim Leavitt spoke of the need of “consideration should be given when it comes to looking at the cost of this project for that economic value that we provide to the state of Oregon and businesses in Oregon. So, that’s kind of the line in the sand I am drawing when it comes to high capacity transit.”
Since becoming Mayor, though, just as with his stance on strongly opposing tolling Clark County citizens for the bridge, he seems to not really desire giving consideration to what this is going to cost us in Clark County. Instead, after several promises from more than one candidate that would receive a vote on operations & maintenance of light rail, he has supported slapping yet another sales tax increase on us for some time now to pay for it.
Ever the one for political expediency, Mayor Leavitt has erected a smoke screen masking his desire to stick citizens with paying for something they do not want.
For those who did not see this final portion of last nights candidate forum
C-Tran, Steve Stuart, Tim Leavitt have lied to us, denied us a promised vote, and have shown they do not care what you and I think, struggle through or how inefficiently they operate C-Tran, we’re just endless deep pockets to those who squander what we send them.
They have Millions in reserve, scheduled some $500,000 for a new administrator for more studies, spend a few thousand more to travel to a convention looking over the latest in electric trains and seeking new creative ways to dig deeper into our pockets, all before we are granted the ‘privilege’ of voting on how they plan to waste even more of our hard earned monies.
They announce staff reductions, but their own pamphlets indicate union employees still receive wage increases, while many in Clark County wonder what will happen when unemployment benefits run out and no job prospects exist.
It seems every time we turn around, some government related entity is demanding we in the struggling middle class cough up more of what few dollars we have and give it to them. We are being asked to approve more tax to C-Tran, so they can maintain services we are told, pay a 5% entertainment tax so a marginal Class A baseball team will move to Vancouver and a have a shiny new stadium 70% paid for by taxpayers.
Soon we will be asked for yet another tax increase to fund Loot Rail maintenance and operation once they shove that down our throats, face tolls to cross the I-5 bridge, even before construction begins if they get their way and if Leavitt’s cartel gets their way, pay an additional $20 to register our cars to also fund Columbia River Crossing cronies.
Even though we have been mired in deep recession with double digit unemployment for over 2 years now, it seems there is no stopping of the picking our pockets by the elected ruling class. Feeding our families or keeping our homes is our problem, not theirs, apparently.
The arrogance of this woman seems boundless. As the video below shows, at a time of deep economic recession with unemployment remaining excessively high and people unable to afford many basic necessities, she whines to KING 5 TV, “I wish voters had helped us out.”
It’s apparent to anybody watching the news that Oregon shot itself in the foot with the passage of measures 66 & 67 this week, the tax increases on businesses and the so-called wealthy.
I asked the question, “Will Washington & Clark County Recognize Oregon’s Free Gift?” in a blog post and in emails sent out to all of the elected officials that allegedly represent me, and some that don’t.
I sent to each on January 27;
“Good morning, As I’m sure you realize, Oregon passed their retroactive taxes measures 66 & 67 last evening that will place an undue burden on small businesses there.
I feel this is an opportune time for Washington to take advantage of Oregon’s folly and attract businesses to Washington State, especially hard hit Clark County.
Offering these businesses tax incentives to relocate would alleviate some of the 14.3% unemployment we have in Clark County and any perceived loss in taxes would be more than made up by increased employment and new wages, all paying taxes once again.
At the same time, it is imperative that proposed spending cuts go forward until we get past this economic crisis.
We need to stop worrying about Oregon and begin doing for Washington and Clark County.
This was sent to Governor Christine Gregoire, Senator Craig Pridemore, Representative Jim Moeller, Representative Jim Jacks, Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt, Vancouver City Council members, Jeanne Harris, Larry Smith, Jack Burkman, Bart Hanson, Pat Campbell, Jeanne Stewart as well as to Clark County Commissioners, Tom Mielke, Mark Boldt and Steve Stuart.
Council member Hanson’s was kicked back, I assume due to him not being fully seated just yet, having just been appointed.
To date, I have received 3 replies, Larry Smith, Jim Moeller and Pat Campbell. Smith seemed non-committal while Moeller and Campbell come across as solidly opposed to any idea of offering incentives to bring businesses over from Oregon.
Representative Moeller even went so far as to tell the Columbian’s Kathie Durbin, who is well know for her left leaning screeds, Voters will step up when cuts get to be too much.
Yes Jim, the one thing you can always count on Liberals to do is vote to raise someone else’s taxes. But, as we saw back in 2003 in King County, when a ten cents per cup tax was proposed on fancy coffee drinks, they will solidly vote them down when they must pay them, even though it is “help the children,” as the “Latte Tax” was proposed to do.
The email reply I received from Moeller said,
“Thanks for your email. Yes! I saw the wonderful election results last night from our neighbors across the river. Although, we clearly differ on the two measures effects on small business, one thing we do agree upon, this is a great opportunity for Washington!
And what a victory! This was not just another liberal Multnomah County election result but a state-wide repudiation of the failed fiscal policies of conservatives that the only way to create prosperity is to cut taxes and shrink government services. Clearly the voters understand that simply cutting taxes and basic government services like education cannot continue and have any semblance of public education – the hope for our future, or other essential services for our elderly or disabled.
Although we have a very different tax system here in Washington we (like Oregon) will look at targeted tax increases (along with cuts and efficiencies) to help fund the basic building blocks of prosperity like education and public health and freight mobility. We will focus on rebuilding the economy and the creation of jobs in Clark County and across Washington by keeping our eye on the ball and the basics that gave us the prosperity to start with.
Finally, this was a great opportunity to affirm that progressive taxes on the successful and the wealthy is supported by the public when the voter knows what the taxes from the two measures will be used for.
Thanks for writing Lew, please write again.
Rep. Jim Moeller”
Pat Campbell’s reply said,
“ They are working on getting their schools up to par. We need to keep working on this ourselves or we may loose one of the advantages we have over Oregon.
Any bets the schools will remain under funded and need more next year, just as always happens?
The Wall Street Journal sees through the charade with Taxpayer Ambush in Oregon.
Even the Columbian, railed on by us as a left-leaning paper and in a move I see as more center, sees the folly of Oregon’s vote with, “In Our View, Jan. 28: C’mon Over!” and “Ore. tax measures generate optimism.”
Both encourage Oregon businesses to move to Clark County that would help us in dealing with our 14.3% unemployment in Clark County.
Based on the replies I’ve received so far, it appears that our elected officials don’t see the golden opportunity lying before us and instead, would like to follow suit and hike taxes on the already struggling businesses in Clark County.
While our officials might be shirt-sighted, apparently not all Democrats are as an article appeared in the January 28, 2010 Chicago Sun Times, “Daley wants to raid Pacific Northwest talent,” addressing how Chicago’s Mayor, Richard Daley intends to try to draw those jobs our elected officials ignore to his city.
“Oregon’s tax blunder spells opportunity for Chicago. It will help our economic development immediately. You’d better believe it. We’ll be out in Oregon enticing corporations to relocate to Chicago. I’ll be very frank. I make no bones about that. If those states want to do that, so be it.”
Washington State already lost Boeing’s Headquarters to Chicago in 2001. Apparently Mayor Daley has no objection to picking the golden egg laid by Oregon’s voters.
But our own elected officials would seem to rather follow suit and drive our struggling businesses away.
Maybe a 14.3% unemployment rate isn’t high enough for them.
Perhaps in future elections, they will be put in the unemployment line and we can then elect people who will pay more attention to our community and actually represent us like Mayor Daley is prepared to do for Chicago and we can get back to work.
UPDATE 1: Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt has replied and seems to me that he hopes to see busineses relocate into our community,
“Hello Lew —
Indeed, I’m hopeful that we’ll see some legit business activity, in light of the message Oregon voters have delivered to business and entrepreneurs in their State. Already some folks have been ‘kicking the tires’ here in Clark County.
We’re working hard at bringing more jobs to SW Washington, as well as helping our existing employers with expansion and growth. There’s plenty of opportunity, and plenty of work to do!
Good to hear from you.
UPDATE 2: Rep. Jim Jacks reply, received February 14, 2010
Thanks so much for your note about the recent Oregon elections. We have some measures we are working on to stimulate business development in Washington and I couldn’t agree with you more that attracting businesses, and therefore jobs, to our state is critical to getting our economy turned around in the right direction.
It’s important to hear from you and learn what your priorities are – I appreciate your input. Please feel free to call my office (360) 786-7924 anytime about anything.
All the best,
49th Legislative District – Vancouver
322 John L. O’Brien Building
Olympia, WA 98504-0600
Unbelievable as it may seem, given that we are in a severe economic downturn in Washington State, Clark County and yes, the entire nation, Democrat State Representative for the 49th Legislative District, Jim Moeller, wrote a letter to the editors at the Columbian actually requesting citizen input on where to raise taxes! Or, as he put it, “I believe citizen input is needed to help identify new revenue.”
Governor Gregoire is warning of “ugly cuts” ahead, acknowledging that raising taxes is the “wrong step in an economic downturn.”
Moeller wraps his plea for help in identifying where and who’s taxes to increase around a November 23, 2008 Opinion piece in the Columbian, “Cuts to public health funding could prove lethal.”
This of course begs the question, why is it during economic downturns, Public Services are the first thing to face the chopping block by Democrats?
State spending increased $8 Billion after Christine Gregoire became our governor, with Democrats controlling both houses of the State Congress along with the governors office. Moeller can’t see any wasteful spending in that?
State Expenditure History (pdf file)
Granted, much of the spending was increased due to voter-approved initiatives. But, how much money was thrown at those voters in efforts to convince them of dire consequences to them and their children if they didn’t approve such massive spending increases?
How much were those who opposed such large spending increases as too expensive and unnecessary ridiculed and shouted down by special interest groups and Democrats in Olympia? And now, we face a potential $5 Billion budget shortfall and all Moeller can think of is asking citizens to help identify who’s taxes can and should be increased?
Vitriolic Columbian Opinion Editor John Laird, in his weekly trashing of any and all not liberal, offers much the same dire words about the “ugly cuts” we face, but does extend some credit to Republican State Senator, Joseph Zarelli for, “several remedies that would be meaningful but not drastic.”
If Moeller is really serious about “identifying new revenue,” allow me to offer a few suggestions.
1. License and tax bicycles and their riders. Riders should have to pass a riding test to purchase a “bicycle endorsement” on their driver’s license, just as motorcycle riders and car drivers must. Bicycles should be licensed, just as cars and motorcycles are and renewed annually.
Underage riders could receive a special “restricted license” good only for bicycles, with parental approval and payment.
2. Since bicyclist don’t pay the current gasoline tax on riding their bicycles, a tax should be added to ‘Gatorade’ and other energy drinks they are so fond of.
3. The latte tax defeated in King County in 2003 needs to be immediately instituted on all caffeine users. Caffeine is an addictive substance much like tobacco and alcohol, so taxes equivalent should be imposed.
4. Oregon residents could to be required to pay Washington sales tax as well. Washington resident working in Oregon must pay Oregon’s Income. It would only be ‘fair’ that they pay our taxes over here as well.
5. Since education is one area facing those “ugly cuts,” how about an “ignorance tax?” The Washington Educator’s Association prohibits merit pay for teachers that excel, one thing that cost the state to lose a $13.2 million grant to some of our schools. So, why not tax parents who children aren’t performing to average standards?
Cutting the top-heavy administration costs in our school system could help balance the budget. But, we know the WEA will fight that tooth and nail and as much as the Democrats are beholding to the union, we can’t expect them to stand up to the teachers union, so we must hold the parents responsible.
6. Does the cost of ILLEGAL immigration ever enter into the Democrat mind? Do they not see that ILLEGALs working for lower wages, drives wages down across the board, resulting in even less revenue reaching Olympia?
Does Moeller consider the billions of dollars sent back to home countries by ILLEGALs, instead of being circulated in our economy? Surely an equivalent portion of those funds sent out of country comes from ILLEGALs in Washington State.
7. Why not impose a “poverty tax” as well? Since Democrats have told us several times over the years that tobacco and alcohol needed higher taxes to discourage the use of those items, why not tax those who earn less that $20,000 a year? Doesn’t it add up that if they must pay an extra tax they will strive harder to get out of poverty and earn higher wages?
8. While we are on tobacco, why not repeal I-901? That was one of those ‘fearmongering’ initiatives nanny staters scared voters into passing and ever since, not only have some private businesses gone under, revenues off of tobacco have decreased.
Let those that want to allow smoking in their private businesses allow it. Let those that wish to smoke, smoke. Let the state reap an increase in revenues from those taxes.
Don’t worry about increased medical costs, smokers die younger anyways, we are told, so they will use less medical care in the long run, right?
9. Why not charge Realtors a surtax on properties they sell? Homeowners must pay them exorbitant fees to sell their homes in a depressed market, so shouldn’t the Clark County Association of Realtors help out a little more than middle class tax payers? Or, do they receive a pass due to endorsements?
Well, Jim, you asked for input, so there you have it. Anyone else who has ideas to input may contact Rep. Moeller direct through his legislative web page, or add your ideas here for him and others to see.
Don’t be bashful. Speak up. Share your ideas. Let’s help Rep. Moeller increase taxes where they can be. We have nothing to fear but fear itself, right Jim?
Even though Rep. Moeller has a history of cynical replies to constituents, he may have mellowed out since he retained his seat against challenger Mike Bomar, who had ideas on the budget crisis without seeking citizen input on sticking it to other citizens.
62.44% of Clark County re-elected Moeller. You get what you vote for.