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Education league comes out against Eyman’s traffic measure

Post by Joe Turner on Sep. 29, 2008 at 4:44 pm |
September 29, 2008 4:44 pm

And so it begins….

The real “threat” of Initiative 985 is that it would shift money that now goes into the state General Fund to pay for schools, prisons, etc. into a special Traffic Congestion Relief account.

That’s about $120 million a year because it would take 15 percent of the sales tax on vehicle sales.

Tim Eyman, I-985’s sponsor, is pushing congestion relief, which is mostly a bogus issue. The state already spends $1 billion to $2 billion a year, every year, on projects that could be considered “congestion relief.”

But he’s tried to make it more attractive to voters by saying I-985 will open carpool lanes during off-peak hours and by putting forth another sorta phony issue: taking 1/2 percent of project costs that he implies are now spent on public art and putting that in the new account, too.

The latter issue is 95 percent straw man. Most of the public art projects you see that are related to transportation have nothing to do with the state Department of Transportation. More than likely, those are Sound Transit or other transit agency projects. Sound Transit has a 1 percent public art set aside for construction projects, except for the really expensive tunneling jobs.

DOT spokesman Lloyd Brown said the last time DOT spent money on art was 7 to 9 years ago.

The last WSDOT capital project that had a public art component was the Spokane Eastern Region building in 99-01 biennium. Art was an interior sculpture and wall art determined through the outlined MOU process. Our planned Olympic Region building project will also have a public art element as part of the project.

DOT’s public art requirement is for buildings, not highways.

The real threat of I-985 is the money it takes out of the general fund, and the League of Education Voters is only one of dozens of groups who won’t like that.

Support our schools,

vote NO on I-985.

The education community urges a NO vote against Initiative 985.

"I-985 claims to reduce traffic congestion, but its major effect will almost certainly be to take away money from classrooms," said Lisa Macfarlane, co-founder of the League of Education Voters. "Our schools need every dollar they currently get to prepare our children for college, job training programs and the workforce."

"We believe I-985 would result in unacceptable cuts to K-12 education, health care and other programs that are important to children," said Laura Bay, President of the Washington State PTA.

Why vote NO on I-985?

The paramount duty of the state is public education.

I-985 would take away more than $100 million a year from the state’s general fund which is used to pay for education, health care and social services, and public safety.

Instead, Tim Eyman’s initiative would spend that money on transportation. Currently, user fees such as the gas tax and tolls pay for highway projects. This would be a seismic shift in funding priorities for our state.

A roadblock to quality education.

I-985 is a roadblock in the way of improving Washington’s education system and preparing all children for college, job training and the workforce.

Our state’s general fund is already stretched thin. If I-985 is approved, it will threaten funding for:

Expanding all-day kindergarten;

Reducing class sizes; and

Increasing enrollments at our state’s colleges and universities.

Visit www.no985.org for more information about why voters should oppose I-985.

In the interests of children and schools, we urge a NO vote against I-985.

Lisa Macfarlane

League of Education Voters

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