On Other Blogs Today: Bike Taxes, Payday Loans, and "Lying Whores"
1. The PI.com reports on initiative kingpin Tim Eyman's latest outburst: In an email blasting Gov. Jay Inslee for supporting a new 10-cent gas tax to pay for transportation projects, Eyman (and his sidekick Mike Fagan) called the governor of his state a "lying whore."
His point, that Inslee promised not to support any new taxes, is totally overshadowed by the ugly, juvenile way he made it.
Additionally, Eyman claims that Inslee would have lost the election if he'd said he supported a gas tax, which Inslee never actually ruled out. Meanwhile, if Inslee had lost, voters would have been stuck with Rob McKenna—who explicitly said that he supported a gas tax. Either Eyman thinks McKenna is also a liar, and as governor wouldn't actually have supported the tax; or Eyman would have also gotten the dreaded gas tax with McKenna.)
2. In an editorial, the Spokesman-Review makes two contradictory points about yesterday's transportation bill: First, that charging cyclists a new $25 tax on bikes is a good idea because cyclists should "pay their fair share"; then, that the bill should include a tax on studded tires because they tear up the state's roads and cost millions in wear and tear.
By that logic, instead of penalizing bicyclists, the state should be paying people to ride bikes because they don't tear up the roads, while taxing users (like people who drive big, heavy SUVs) who cause the most damage.
3. Seattle Bike Blog makes a similar case against the bike tax, noting that bicycling actually saves the government money in health care costs and lives saved; that the tax will disproportionately impact small bike-shop owners; and that the $1 million the tax would raise rounds out, according to the state's own calculations, to 0 percent of the cost of its $10 billion transportation proposal (in fairness, it's actually 0.01 percent).
4. The News Tribune (warning: paywall) reports that the state senate fast-tracked controversial legislation creating a new style of ultra-high-interest consumer loan today despite widespread objections that the proposal simply creates a new tool for payday lending companies to exploit desperate low-income borrowers. The bill would allow lending companies to charge effective interest rates of up to 220 percent.
Payday loan opponent Sharon Nelson (D-34, Vashon, W. Seattle) called the bill, and the process that led to its 30-18 passage in the senate a "sham," adding, "I am ashamed of what happened here today."
5. The AP reports on a debate over state Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon's (D-34, Burien, W. Seattle) bill to allow people who've been convicted of marijuana possession to petition the state to vacate their convictions immediately, rather than waiting the three years after conviction mandated by current law. A group representing prosecuting attorneys noted that Fitzgibbon's bill would allow people to have their convictions overturned even if they had more pot on them than the one ounce allowed under Initiative 502, last year's measure legalizing the possession of marijuana for recreational use.
Quote of the day from Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys Tom McBride: “I understand for some people marijuana is special. It’s not that special for me.”