The bureaucrats running Sound Transit are finding out that when you demand the biggest tax increase in state history – some $54 billion dollars – that some people might ask what you’ve been doing with the billions you’ve been given so far.
And the answer is not pretty – or necessarily legal.
The Seattle Times broke two stories over the weekend that showed just how poorly the region’s light rail agency is being run. The first highlighted highlighted illegal conduct. The second was just about typical bureaucratic incompetency as voters start to consider the $54 billion-dollar money grab on the November 8 ballot.
The first shoe to drop was the Times reporting, “Sound Transit improperly gave the email addresses of nearly 173,000 ORCA cardholders to the political campaign promoting ST3, the fall ballot measure seeking to expand regional mass transit, a spokesman for the transit agency acknowledged Friday
The “improper” behavior the Times highlighted is typical of liberal tax-raising schemes. It goes like this:
- Consultants, paid by the companies and interest groups which make money off public projects, put a tax increase on the ballot.
- The agency that wants to spend those new tax dollars spends lots of taxpayer dollars gathering information about their “customers”.
- Then the campaign seeking to raise taxes files a public records request to get the information which was gathered by the agency using taxpayer dollars – and it knows what to ask for because the same far-Left consultants working on the tax-raising campaign have worked for the tax-raising agency.
- The campaign saves money by getting the voter information that the taxpayers paid for – and uses that extra money to push a campaign to raise taxes.
See how simple that is – you get to pay to raise your own taxes!
Of course, the bureaucrats are very, very sorry that they acted unethically.
You can almost hear the crocodile tears falling as the agency fall guy, i.e. PR guy, explains that mistakes happen:
“The distribution of the transit passholders’ email addresses was a mistake made as part of Sound Transit’s response to the Mass Transit Now! campaign’s recent public-disclosure requests for the transit agency’s email subscribers’ lists, Sound Transit spokesman Geoff Patrick said. ‘It turns out our response to the campaign was more broadly construed than it should have been,’ said Patrick.”
Of course, the mistake can’t be undone, so Sound Transit will keep going blissfully along, making mistakes that always seem to help the people trying to help them raise taxes.
What was not as helpful for the light rail agency’s $54 billion dollar tax increase initiative was the Times’ second story, which pointed out that the bureaucrats aren’t very good at budgeting, and really aren’t very good at telling the truth about their budgeting.
The Times’ longtime transportation Mike Lindblom laid out a simple question for the public to contemplate: “Two decades after voters approved taxes for light rail, Sound Transit has at last laid enough track to answer a longstanding taxpayer question: How high were the cost overruns? The answer is about 86 percent.”
That’s right – in 1996, voters first approved the development of light rail. And now, some 20 years later (10 years after when the first phase of construction was supposed to be completed), we find out that the costs projected in that ballot measure have almost doubled – and, the bureaucrats at Sound Transit have not completed what they promised the voters.
Not exactly the news you want when you have your hand out for another $54 billion – or would that be about $100 billion, based on Sound Transit’s past performance?