Thursday, August 02, 2007

Open Letter From Janet Oleszek to Ken Cucinelli

I received this from Janet Oleszek via email.

August 2, 2007

I wanted to forward you the open letter I sent to Ken Cuccinelli today. Recently he has been trying to defend his position on the abuser fees, and I wanted to let you know that we are continuing to hold his feet to the fire. The open letter is below.
August 2, 2007

Senator Cuccinelli:

In a letter to your constituents, including myself, dated July 31st, you attempted to explain your position on the notorious abuser fees recently passed by the Republican-led General Assembly. Since these fees are nothing but a tax on abusive drivers, I will refer to them as what they are - an abuser tax.

Your letter raises many questions and fails to provide any answers.

The facts of your voting record, as presented in your letter are:
You voted against the abuser tax in 2006
You voted for the abuser tax in 2007
You were the deciding vote for the transportation bill that included the abuser tax
You voted against the final bill which included the abuser tax in 2007
You voted against the final bill which "reduced the General fund dollars for Northern Virginia" and "allow[s] an unelected body called the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority to raise taxes on everyone in our communities..."
In addition to these confusing statements, you make the following claim on your campaign literature: "Building Roads- Senator Cuccinelli cast the decisive vote allowing Northern Virginia to get and keep $400 million annually to fight congestion!"

Based on all of the information that you have provided, I have the following questions for you:

1) Have you not signed a pledge to your constituents - and by constituents, I mean a Washington, DC special interest group - to vote against all taxes? Is voting in favor of a fee that is designed to raise revenue to pay for government services not a tax?
2) If you were the deciding vote to get and keep $400 million dollars, weren't you also the deciding vote to allow the outrageous abuser tax to be put in place?
3) If you were the deciding vote to send the transportation bill - which resulted in $400 million annually to fight congestion - to the Governor, weren't you the deciding vote to "allow an unelected body... to raise taxes on everyone..." as you so bluntly put it? Again, what about your pledge to special interest groups not to raise taxes?

Now that over 150,000 Virginians have signed a petition against the abuser taxes, you are calling for a special session. After all of your talk about saving the taxpayer's money and trimming government, it's interesting that your proposal to fix the problem is to invest tens of thousands of the taxpayer's dollars on a special session. Wouldn't it have made more sense to vote against the bill in the first place?

Ken, when you cast a vote on a bill, you shouldn't vote based on the need to fill blank space on your campaign literature. You should vote for a bill because you believe it is the right thing to do for the citizens of the Commonwealth, and your constituents. Either you are proud of the vote - and should be willing to take responsibility for the negative effects on your constituents that will result from it, or you should have voted no.

Your call for a special session raises additional questions:

4) Is this your plan for governance? Each time there is public outcry regarding a policy you have voted for will you call for a special session?
5) If you consider the fees so egregious that a special session is necessary
to repeal them, why didn't you vote against them when the bill needed
your vote for passage?
6) How can you be so proud of a vote to put it on your campaign literature but be so ashamed of the same vote that you call for a special session?

It takes leadership to get something you don't like removed from a bill. It takes bi-partisanship to change something you don't like about a bill. And it takes courage to vote against a bill if you don't like it.


Janet Oleszek
Constituent & Democratic Candidate for the 37th State Senate District

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