Letter to the editor, Daily News, March 21, 2003
(Portions of my original letter omitted from publication are highlighted in underlined italics.)
I fear Mr. Weinkopf may be living in an alternate reality where the state's budget crisis doesn't exist. To challenge any new revenue streams that may make it possible to avoid cuts in important state programs is, in my opinion, a ludicrous position to take.
Instead of applauding the governor for finding a way to bring more money into the state's coffers without having to argue with the legislature, Mr. Weinkopf cries "foul" because that same budget crisis he appears to be ignoring may be able to trigger a clause in existing legislation.
I might suggest he review the governor's proposed cuts in transportation funding, which include invoking another "loophole" ... this one in Proposition 42, which voters approved a year ago. Under that ballot measure, sales taxes on gasoline fund public transit, street repair, and traffic congestion relief. But the governor can, with a two-thirds vote of the legislature, proclaim a fiscal emergency and have those tax revenues diverted to the General Fund. Those revenues are projected at over one billion dollars for the next fiscal year, and the diversion of same will have every bit as much impact on the state's drivers as returning to the previous vehicle license fee rate.
Perhaps Mr. Weiskopf should consider which is less aggravating: A higher car tax, or the bill for wheel realignment of his car after he hits a pothole that wasn't repaired for lack of money. Personally, I'd rather see his money fund not only fixing the roads but also transit (buses use the public roads as well, you know).