So I sent a quick email off to Governor Gregoire about the tax proposals that are going on. The raise in taxes on cigarettes, the proposed sales tax increase, etc.
My quick thoughts for her were an easy way to not only raise money for the state but to also save some for it.
The idea for raising money was to have the bicyclists of the state have to have a special endorsement. Now, by bicyclists, I mean those people that ride their bikes on the streets, in traffic and "behave" as a vehicle. The endorsement would be just like the motorcycle endorsement that is required in this state. There would be classes that cyclists would have to take. They would be required to also license and tab their bikes, especially since most of the roads around here have a bike lane just for them (thank god since not very many of them follow any rules of the road!).
But my most splendid idea was the saving money part I sent. I pointed out that if she, and the House and Senate members, would take a cut in their pay, even just a third off the top, that the savings would be substantial!
( source - Washington Citizen's Commision )
I received a reply email this morning from the Governor's Office which states:
Thank you for writing Governor Gregoire with your ideas to save taxpayer dollars during these difficult economic times. She appreciates the time you took to share your views.
The budget gap that we will need to plug during this legislative session provides us a challenge to rethink how we deliver state services. Your ideas for how we can grow the state's economy, create or save jobs, deliver state services more efficiently, and protect our most vulnerable citizens are truly appreciated.
We will need many of these ideas and much, much more to address the $2.6 billion - and growing - budget shortfall we now face. This follows the $9 billion shortfall we addressed in last year's legislative session. We cut spending by $3.2 billion, including making painful cuts in K-12 and higher education and the state's Basic Health Plan for low-income individuals. We used $3 billion in funds from the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, too, but this is a short-term solution. And we made use of the Rainy Day Fund and other savings measures to make up the balance of the shortfall.
While consumer spending continues to lag and the unemployment rate has yet to flatten out, Washington's recovery, while on the horizon, isn't here yet. We need to solve the new shortfall and position our state to come out of the recession better and healthier than ever.
That is why all options for balancing the budget will be on the table. The Governor appreciates your good ideas, and encourages you to keep your eyes open for other suggestions. While we made some difficult choices in the budget signed last spring, even more difficult choices are before us. To the extent that we can save money by operating state services more economically, we may not need to cut as deeply.
Governor Gregoire thanks you again for sharing your thoughts. While we have much hard work and many tough choices ahead of us, she knows that we will emerge a stronger and more robust state from this recession.
Constituent/Management Services Manager
Christine O. Gregoire
I love how this is a basic form type letter that really makes me think that no one actually read my letter at all.
Thank you Governor. . . I am so glad you listen to the people of the state that elected you.
(However, this brings up another question.. who DID vote for her? I have yet to find anyone that says they did - perhaps they are just so ashamed of it they are scared to admit!)