Opinion Piece By Donna Westfall – July 26, 2018 – Up until now, I’ve really liked Senator Mike McGuire. He’s appears to be smart. He’s a great speaker and easy on the eyes. But when I heard him pitch the gas tax as the funding agent for an alternate route to Last Chance Grade, my internal BS barometer went SPROING! I can understand that as a Democrat he has to endorse what his party is pitching. I do understand that. What I don’t understand is how he can in good conscience stand in front of an audience and tell us gas taxes will pay for this thing when he knows it won’t. Did you read about SB1 on their website? Did you see ANYTHING about gas taxes going towards Last Chance Grade? Lastly, since our state legislature has a history of robbing money from the gas taxes for other things, why should we believe them now?
This is a video of my public comment to the Del Norte County Board of Supervisors at their July 24th meeting. In case any of it is not clear, below is the written version:
“We received this beautiful brochure in the mail advertising a community open house to discuss Last Chance Grade.
And now that I’ve attended a few dog and pony shows, this was the best.
Senator McGuire was there thanking all the city, county and state agencies 52 times. I exaggerate a little. And then when they got into the meat and potatoes, it boils doen to one thing. They were there to promote SB1, the gas tax that starts at 12 cents a gallon and goes up to who knows where and for how long and with no accountability.
I asked our Senator what would happen when the gas tax is repealed in November and his response was, quote, ‘We need those gas tax dollars, simple as that.’ Unquote.
Maybe what is simple to him is not so simple to me.
When I started driving, gas was 25 cents a gallon. Today it’s about $3.85 a gallon. I go to Brookings, Oregon and gas up where I save about 60 cents a gallon. In the 50 years that I’ve been driving, and the State of California has been collecting taxes on gasoline, you would think there would be funds to do things like build an alternate route to Last Chance Grade. But, NO! In 2010, Gov. Arnold siphoned out billions of dollars, billions with a B…. not millions…. I’m talking billions of dollars to pay for other things not transportation related.
Despite the legislatures attempts at making rules and regulations that gas tax dollars are only to go towards transportation related items, our state government has ignored the will of the people. Why should we now trust our state government?
Our state government has a horrible record of spending our taxpaying dollars wisely and in particular on anything to do with transportation in Del Norte County. It’s not just stupid to believe and trust our state government it would be insane to believe and trust our state government.”