Buck says transportation package all taxes, no accountability

Olympia, WA - 3/2/02 - A transportation bill that passed the state House of Representatives Friday
asks taxpayers to pay more, but does nothing to assure them that their dollars will be spent more efficiently, said Rep. Jim Buck, R-Joyce. "It s all taxes, and no accountability," he added, after the House approved an
8-cent-a-gallon gas-tax increase on a vote of 54-44.

In addition to the hike in the gas tax (bringing it to 31 cents a gallon
over two years), House Bill 2969 includes an additional 1 percent sales tax
on new and used car sales, and a 20 percent increase in truck-weight fees.
Buck acknowledged that the measure does make good on one Republican demand
that it be submitted to a public vote, proposed for June 20.

"I m disappointed that we couldn t do this right the first time,"said Buck.
"In order to get the voters approval at the ballot box, we need to first
rebuild their confidence and trust in government, and this package doesn t
give the people of Washington assurances that their transportation dollars
will be spent as wisely and efficiently as possible. We ve failed to do
that, and I m afraid that without that level of confidence, the voters will
reject it.

"Public support for a revenue package is critical, but we have to do our
job first. We need to do more to show the people that we got the message,
that we re committed to changing the way the Department of Transportation
does business, and that we respect the citizens demand for efficiency and
accountability. This package doesn t get us there," he said.

Buck said he was disappointed that Republican proposals to refine the
transportation package were not part of the final package, including
reforms to revamp prevailing-wage laws, streamline the permitting process
on major transportation projects, and use competitive bidding for outside
contracting to reduce the time and costs of projects where possible.

"I cannot in good conscience tell my constituents that this package will
ensure that their money would be spent better in the future than it has in
the past," said Buck. "They need that assurance before we can ask for
higher taxes."


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