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New Seattle Driver Tax Pending – Pay Per Mile

Seattle Driving Tax Pay Per Mile

A measure is on the table and is expected to be approved by the Washington State Transportation Commission. In short, this new pilot program (trial) would require drives to get a GPS device installed in their cars. They would then charge drivers per mile for the amount they drove on the public roads. They could start the initial testing of the pilot program in 2016. State Legislature would need to give final approval for the test project. The suggested program was modeled after a similar project happening in Oregon. All of this is in response by the Transportation Commission to help pay for roads since the gas tax revenue is supposedly not enough anymore.

The program would also give drivers several options of payments. You can choose the flat fee (all you can drive), odometer reporting, GPS locator installed, or download an app on their smartphone. The fee would be called a road usage fee. They also stated the drivers would get credit for any gas taxes paid.

If everything is approved and move forward the full program wouldn’t begin until 2018.

With that being said let me say it again (as I have said it many times before) and that is our leaders sit around all day just thinking this crap up. They have nothing better to do but think of ways to nickel and dime the public for the failed or horribly managed programs. This is another attempt and example of my very point. The issue with this moving forward is that it would need to be passed without voter support because there is no way the public would approve such a program. With that being said, the public did put Obama in office the second term (after a horrible first term) approved Obamacare so maybe I’m wrong. I would like to think, however, the public would be smart enough to know that getting tracked and paying more in taxes in a bad idea. What angers me is that this is just one step closer the government monitoring. It would be easy the government to weasel there way into it behind the scenes (under national security) and use it to their benefit as well. They do it now with Comcast and the phone companies so this program would be an easy entry point to make that happen. Just another way to get inside all our lives. Another way to track cars and track individuals. It’s really not far fetched considering their involvement with the other everyday items we use such as computers. This will never be discussed or mentioned just as it’s not mentioned with Comcast or our phone service providers.

The other issue is the argument of not enough tax revenue. Sure, I can see their point on this one. We are moving into a more hybrid culture. However, the state has been cooking the books for years on this revenue. People are driving more and working longer than they ever have before. Gas is coming down (only because it’s Winter) but will rise again as it always does. I honestly am not convinced gas prices adjust due to supply and demand anymore. It’s a controversial and debatable topic. Our government has milked just about every program and service we have available. They understand gas prices, have reserves, and understand how supply and demand can be manipulated so more taxes are paid on it. It would be silly to think over wise. It’s happening but the public is very naive about it.

With that being said, I vote a big fat NO WAY on this.

UPDATE: July 2015, Oregon is going to be testing out this program with 1500 drivers (volunteers). They branded the program OReGO (which is a stupid name – by the way). These drivers will submit their driving logs or install a device to monitor their miles. They will then pay a rate of 1.5 cents per mile to the state. States across the nation have expressed they cannot afford to pay for their roads so they continue to think of ways, laws, taxes ect to make repairs. As I’ve state my opinion above in the article, I wouldn’t support this new law. I can’t imagine anyone else supporting it either. States have been able to pass agendas which are not supported by the people. As long as it benefits them from a revenue perspective – laws have been known to pass successfully. I can only express the solution so many times on the Emerald City Journal and it’s the same for every problem we have (education, buses, gas taxes) the people just want transparency in spending. It’s that simple. The financial figures need to be broken down by item for projects and determine where the money is really being spent. If we are actually spending all our tax revenue appropriately, the people will understand the need – thus fully support an increase in taxes. The states and cities, however, know they continue to waste money on roads, projects, interstates, ramps, ect that really don’t need work (but passed to keep people working only). They do provide financial reports but the data is very general and doesn’t get into specifics of spending. This is done on purpose so it’s not criticized. This is where we need accountability and corrections to be made. If the city or states can clearly itemize their spending with valid work, salaries, jobs, then the people will comply with the tax reform efforts. They will have to – roads are a must have for everyone. It’s not that difficult just prove where that tax money is being spent for the roads. Until that happens, I will be keeping my checkbook closed.

Seattle’s $15 Minimum Wages – Passes

Seattle Minimum Wages Increase to 15 per hour

On Monday with a 9-0 vote the Seattle Council voted to pass and increase the minimum way to $15 per hour. This makes the minimum wage in Seattle the highest in the nation. The increase in wages will be a slowly phased into Seattle over several years. Smaller business will have even more time to phase in the increase.

The City of Seattle of course supports it because the tax revenue is massive. They essentially double what they bring in now per individual minimum wage paycheck.

So where do we go with this new news Seattle? I guess businesses no longer need to hire high school kids or drop outs…. when they can get college grads for $15 per hour. Hell educated kids from Tacoma would probably even commute to Seattle for this kind of money. The even better news that who really needs college anymore. You might as well get a $15 – $20 per our job and figure out the college thing later.

Why stop at $15 lets just make it $20 per hour which is 40K per year. If we are going to go big – why not go really big? Since people are making more now let’s continue the raise the already high rents in the neighborhoods. Landlords are going to love this. People are making more now so it only makes sense to me. Since people are making more the City can charge a little extra on parking tickets or add a few more traffic light cameras.

All of this is an excuse to take more money from your paycheck and at the same time create an excuse to raise the prices of other things around the city. It’s all about getting money back into the system and nothing to do with you personally.

Look if we really want to make a change there should be a $15 MAXIMUM wage for congress and the Seattle Council members. One step forward and two steps back.

Seattle 15 per hour wages

Headlines About Seattle’s Big Bertha

Big Bertha Seattle Is A Failure

I feel the need to write a follow up on my previous story about Big Bertha. If you feel like singing and are happy with the progress you can hum this to the melody of Proud Mary

 

 

Not so Proud Bertha
Got me a job in the city,
Digging out a tunnel, ev’ry night and day
Never lost a minute sleepin’
Worryin’ about how things should have been.

My big wheel wont keep turnin’
Bertha’s gears, are burnin’
Its like rollin’, rollin” in a river.

Now for a few Headlines from the Times.
DRILL’S DEEP TROUBLES STARTED IN JAPAN. Before we ever got the machine it experienced the same leaky seals in Japan. Should have sent up red flags then and our experts should have been more concerned about whether the machine was worth the price rather than be concerned about getting it here to dig a tunnel that the taxpayers did not want.

DRILLING DOWN ON BIG BERTHA, MEGAPROJECTS-AND MUCH MORE. Once the problems started the blame game started. Big Bertha was in trouble from the start. So the communication between Lynn Peterson, Transportation Chief and Cris Dixon, Tunnel Project manager sort of broke down.

VIADUCT CRACKS SIGNAL STATE RACE AGAINST TIME. Of course they say it has absolutely nothing to do with the digging of the tunnel. Yeah right

SAGGING SECTION OF VIADUCT POSES NO DANGER, STATE SAYS. Why would this be put in a paper as headline news? If cracks and sagging poses no danger. What in the h—– are we tearing it down for and spending billions on a tunnel?

BERTHA WOES FRUSTRATE STATE. That’s no surprise when the machine stopped digging completely it could get a little frustrating.

MUCH POKING BUT NO CLUES ON WHAT’S BLOCKING BERTHA. Trying to see why Big Bertha quit digging, they discovered she was flooded. Geez Why didn’t they think of that? 110 feet below sea level. Who would have thunk.

BERTHA’S NEMESIS: 119 FEET OF STEEL WELL PIPE. State had put that well pipe in and forgot about it. Well we all lose our keys and things so maybe that’s how it happened.

BAILING BERTHA: WATER RUSHED IN. More wells needed to drain front of digger face. 90,000 gallons could be behind it. Will they have to drain the whole sound? Something is going to have to fill the space where the water is taken from.

KEEPING GROUND WATER AT BAY CRUCIAL IN REPAIR PLAN FOR BERTHA. Sudden loss of water could destabilize viaduct or Pioneer Square Buildings.

SEPT 1 GOAL FOR RESTART OF TUNNELING. Bertha stoppage to last 9 months. But no workers are being laid off and everyone gets a good paycheck.

FORECAST SEES NO LIGHT AT END OF TUNNEL TIL 2016. Report calls for healing rift between state and contractor. They need to admit it ain’t gonna work, no way, no how.

All of the above in caps are a few of the headlines from the Seattle times. Now my own comments. The only expertise I have on the tunnel is just using COMMON SENSE THINKING. You do not need a degree in civil engineering of road building to know that digging a tunnel (I call it a giant culvert, to carry water, not cars) right along the Puget Sound with a sea wall that is about to cave is about as stupid as anything anyone could come up with. What were they trying to accomplish by building the tunnel that could not be done far faster, safer and less expensive? They could rebuild another viaduct. It is a tourist attraction. Best view in Seattle. Cars can park under it, people can walk under it, it does NOT keep people from going to the water. Another alternative would be to tear it down, make a wide street and forget about it. No flooding, no caving, no one getting buried alive. OR if you are hell bent on a tunnel and clear view of the sound, just do a cut and cover. It could be covered over level and no one would even know it was there and cars would never get trapped 110 feet down in a flooded tunnel.
We should change songs from Proud Bertha to Lets call the whole thing Off…or you Got to know when to hold em, know when to fold em, know when to walk away, know when to run. Now is the time to cut the losses. This thing has only gone a little over a thousand feet, of the 1.7 miles needed. This happened where they can dig a football field sized hole to get to it and maybe bring the blade out, but IF they get it fixed from then on it’s under buildings, they can’t level Pioneer square to dig to it again. Please stop before it’s to late. Way too much dirt and water being taken out for it not to have an impact on the historic buildings. Can you imagine the loss of life if they get a lot of guys repairing the machine and the whole hill shifts. Stupid and expensive to keep up this digging. Taxpayers are getting taken for a ride for sure. When it’s taxpayers money they just don’t need to worry about expenses. Just up the sales tax, up bus fares, up anything with a surcharge and we can’t do a thing. Keep your letters and phone calls to the state officials. It is in an earthquake zone and I would rather get smashed on a viaduct than buried alive in a water filled tunnel.
/LLL

Seattle Ride Sharing Rules Coming Soon

Seattle Ride Share Sevices

December 13, 2012 the City of Seattle Council held a public meeting regarding ride share services. These new services are popping up everywhere now and the taxi drivers are getting mad because they are offering a lower, faster, CHEAPER, and in reality better service.  They are saying they can’t compete and they are not safe ect.  Some of these new services include Sidecar, Lyft and Uber for example. However, city taxis of course are regulated by the city and they want the new ride share services to be also. I certainly can understand that frustration if I was an owner.  The city is holding them back.

As I’ve mentioned several times now on the Emerald Journal when an opportunity presents itself for more tax revenue the Council with certainly take you up on that opportunity. Here is another example of how these services are deemed “illegal” and we need to come up with a “fair” solution to regulate and tax them appropriately.

Seattle talks a big game about wanting riders to share, use buses, bikes, ect but when something new and innovated comes around and provides a real service of doing just that – they are quick to knock it down.  These services are really innovated and have the business down not like the old taxi systems in place.  These companies use apps on their phones, easy to use, and much cheaper.  It’s sad but the reality is that it’s all smoke and mirrors with the City of Seattle Council to make the public opinion positive about them and what they do for the city.

The City is proposing an annual license fee of $50,000 for these companies. Well that sounds “fair” to me (not). That sure is horrible for these companies and obvious sign the City Council is all about regulation, control, and revenue. It’s not about better air, less traffic, or anything like that – it’s about revenue first.  This effort pretty much puts them out of business and/or makes it extremely difficult to do business here in Seattle.  I thought the goal was to increase transportation and encourage great ideas to solve the traffic, parking, air, car issues in Seattle.  This move in licensing just kills that effort.

If they really wanted to solve this problem they would simply lower the regulations on Taxi owners and let them all compete evenly. The best service will win over the public. That would just be to easy, however, and would limit the cash flow and regulations which the city would never agree to. Sad but true. Take note just another case of grabbing more cash and not really caring to come up with innovated solutions which are available right now.

Next time you vote to support those businesses or public transportation just remember the City killed these cheap innovated companies so they can continue to control and regulate this area.

Smoking Marijuana In Public – $27 Fine

Seattle Marijuana Smoking Fines

In and effort to keep control over the industry and increase revenue if necessary the Seattle Council passed a law which would fine for smoking in public.  Sure it’s not much but still a behavior by the City of Seattle that really wasn’t necessary.  It just proves when there is an opportunity to make a few more dollars they will take that opportunity to make a fine/tax out of it.  At his point, what is the big difference between cigarette smoking in public and marijuana smoking in public – absolutely nothing.

A law (unlike smoking) voted on by the people and all the City Council can do is come up with new laws and regulations to fine this cash cow as much as possible.

When Nick Licata (Council member) told the public this is now going to be the law (passed by the Council), he also mentioned that the police would be “giving warnings”.  Isn’t that a great line to calm the public so there is no uproar.  I would love to see how many warnings they give out compared to how much revenue they bring in from this great news.

Joe Biden $585K Spending Spree In Paris (1 Night)

Joe Biden Paris Visit

The spending continues with Joe Biden making a trip to Paris last February.  The one night stay for him (and his team) came to $585,000.  Joe Biden and his team rented out 100 rooms at the Hotel Intercontinental Paris Le Grand (a 5 star hotel).  The average cost for a hotel room there is $475 per night and the presidential suite is a cool $3,900 per night.  The government contract was recently released to the public discussing the trip.  Specifics about whether he stayed in the presidential suite is not known, however.  There is another case of him and his team staying at the Hyatt Regency London in early February which total $459,000.  At least we don’t have a spending problem in America – two solid cases of the administration blowing more tax money.  Both contracts are available for the public to read it on the Fbo.gov website.

If spending your all your tax money like this doesn’t make you angry (and it should) then think about this… how about their honesty in reporting the facts about the visit?  Think about this… even if they purchased 100 presidential room suites for him and his team at the hotel for $3,900 each, they still wouldn’t have spent the full contracted amount of $585,000.

I have said it time and time again.  Before Obama and Biden are out of the office, our national debt will hit at least $20 trillion dollars.  It just continues to go up everyday and they simply don’t have courage to cut any real spending.  Just like the first 4 years in office, they are going to kick the spending can down the road for the next guy to handle.

Joe-Biden-Spending-Money-Photo

VP-Joe-Biden-Funny-Picture

 

McGinn On Supreme Court Ruling (2/3 Voting)

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn

Mayor McGinn’s statement on state Supreme Court ruling
Yesterday, the state Supreme Court issued a ruling stating that a state law requiring a two-thirds vote in the Legislature to increase revenue is unconstitutional.

“I applaud the state Supreme Court’s decision. This opens the door to common sense returning to Olympia’s process to fully fund education and invest in our transportation system,” said Mayor McGinn.

THE ABOVE STATEMENT IS CUT AND PASTED FROM A WEEKLY E MAIL I GET FROM MAYOR McGINN.

This really surprised me (and not much the politicians do surprise me anymore). I can’t believe he would actually put in writing that the will of the voters mean absolutely nothing to him. We all know that includes almost every elected official but to admit it in writing and be proud of it. His e mail called the reader is sent to us voters who have signed up for it. lol  I hope when he runs for re-election this gets really circulated and can be filed under, “Put a fork in it, his goose is cooked”. But then if you look at what happened in November he could get voted in again. He won last time by running on the fact that he was Keep Reading

Two-Thirds Tax Law Dumped

Capitol Building In Olympia Washington

Yesterday 2-28-13 the will of the people of the state of Washington was wiped out. Hard to believe that for 20 years the people of the state of Washington has voted over and over for a two thirds tax law. It would only be good for a couple years and we would have to go all thru the signature gathering, and have it put to a vote and it passed every time. Last November Initiative 1185 passed by a 64 percent majority in all 39 counties. I can completely understand going to court and having a ruling when an initiative is worded screwy, like “yes we don’t want that”, or something. But the 2/3 tax law has been passed every time, time after time and to have the court strike it down is a real shock.  I believe Keep Reading

Michael Bloomberg Banning Soda Pop

A perfect example of someone wasting our tax money as a politician.  Out of everything that needs to be fixed in this country (and NYC), Michael Bloomberg figured he would start banning large soda pops.  I guess it must be nice to sit around all day and not fix a damn thing that is really important.  A law that he figured wouldn’t put his head on the chopping block may have backfired.  As you know most politicians these days focus on the things (or create new things) that don’t put them in the line of fire.  They like to sit back and think of things that generate revenue but are not currently in place.  A few good examples would be photo lights, speeding lights, hotel room taxes, seat belt laws, plastic bag tax etc.  So the “genius” Michael Bloomberg creates a ban on large soda pop.  Well done! Like I said, another example of a “play it safe” politician. Keep Reading

David Petraeus Is A Naughty Boy

With all the news surrounding David Petraeus and is his naughty boy love affair, I figured I would share my thoughts on the issue.  First it all started out as just an affair and then his immediate resignation.  Mr. Petraeus is 60 years old now and knows how these things can look bad on the country and the White House so the reasoning I could understand.  He felt the spotlight and wanted nothing of it.  The public, however, was ready to stone this guy.  Some even wanted him to answer for the affair and have him pushed through the court system.  Even though the affair is morally wrong the military has setup ethics codes which pretty much can put you in jail for anything they find such as being irresponsible, making us look bad, or whatever they find morally wrong.  It’s pretty much the same as our legal system if they want to nail you for something they can find a loop hole to make that happen.  It comes down the resources and just figuring out how to make it work.  The affair itself I could careless about and I just couldn’t understand why everyone else cares so much.  It doesn’t effect them or their lives.  It’s not your wife or family that is now in Keep Reading

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