## Saturday, June 23, 2007

### Let’s go to the “Opinion Poll”….

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Our local newspaper has explored the use of “Opinion Polls” to bring up local and statewide topics on their website. It has been interesting to watch their selection of topics and phrasing of the questions they wish to discuss or promote. It is obvious that these “Polls” could\should not be considered scientific for it appears anybody can “Stack” the results by voting under numerous screen names and the likes.

Today’s question brings up a good point for discussion but the choice of phrasing the questions “Astronomically High” user fee option makes it appear that maybe the NewsLeader is steering the poll in one direction…

“What would you prefer as a method of funding Virginia’s transportation needs: Astronomically high “Abuser fees” for traffic offenses and a $10 hike in registration fees, or a few cents extra per gallon gas tax at the pump? Results at time of viewing 44% Abuser fees 56% Higher gas tax Good question and it appears that the majority of the NewsLeader readers favor spreading the “Transportation Fees” straight across the board to all motorist as compared to punishing those who abuse the system and fellow motorist. Now it is obvious that anybody who is familiar to paying “Abuser fees” for their traffic offenses would rather not pay high or higher fines & fees, but what about the rest of us on the roads? For work reasons I drive Route 81 numerous times a week and at times it amazes me that there are not more accidents as there are. Many drivers, and not just the young ones, seem to enjoy tailgating at 70+ mph. I have had people less then 1 car length riding behind me and I have seen others that have been the same length behind a tractor trailer at\over the 65 mph speed limit. There is no way that the driver of the truck can see that driver behind them at that distance. And what about the driver who weaves in and out of the passing lanes to go around those slower drivers or drivers who are doing the posted speed limit? No turn signals and no caution taken to prevent cutting off other drivers who get in their way… Not all but too many accidents result from the actions of these “Abusers” and who ends up paying for their actions most of the time? Maybe we can add a couple more pennies to the fuel tax to pay for the family of four that the tailgater\speeder ran off the road… Should we fine these “Abusers” for their actions or spread the transportation fees across the board to all drivers in the form of a couple penny tax on fuel? A “few cents extra per gallon tax at the pump” sounds less painful but remember that half-cent sales tax increase back in 2004 that also sounded less painful? That little half-cent results in more then$700 million dollars per year out of our pockets and into the Virginia treasury for our politicians to spend and they do spend it.

Maybe this poll was more then a “Opinion” poll to discuss the increased fines for the abusive driver? It has been mentioned numerous times in the local media that this bill is a product of the Republican Delegates in Richmond, a group that the NewsLeader “Opinion Page” has been critical of many times.

Our friends over at a much more “Liberal” blog that claims to have “Raised” our now Democratic Governor Tim “Kaine” to office has a post about this same topic. It is interesting to see how they present this same story. In fact it appears they may have actually turned this discussion about the safety of our public transportation to a political issue and a call to remove those evil Republicans from office. Several quotes from “comments” posted on their topic: “We're stuck with it unless we toss the jerks”… “More to the point, there's no gubernatorial election this year, but EVERY SINGLE GENERAL ASSEMBLY SEATE is up for grabs”…

"OPINION POLLS" are both interesting and fun, but I wonder how much of it is truly "Our" opinion and how much is the "Agenda" of the paper...

Spank That Donkey said...

Few cents BS! Emmett voted twice for 5% per gallon, at $2.50 per gallon that is$12.5 cents which obviously represents more than a few.

Few = 3 cents to english speaking folks...

newt said...

The trick is to sneak a tax increase under the radar that looks small and not painfull. half penny or 5% seems small until you multiply it by a large amount of transactions such as sales tax or gallon of gas. Notice hiw Emmett brings up how he voted to decrease the tax on food? how much of your budget is food? what are the hard numbers that he "saved" us???

RightsideVA said...

I see now that the NewsLeader has another editorial about this issue and at least the first two people who have commented have common sense approaches to their comments.

Newt at least can look at the BIG picture and understand what it means to the bottom line. Tell us the actual totals of how much of our money you are going to confiscate!!!

RightsideVA said...

Spank,

Found some numbers on the net that makes this thing interesting...

VA Gasoline, not including Diesel, consumption 90,793,000 barrels...

42 Gallons per barrel...

90,793,000 x 42= 3,813,306,000 gal

3,813,306,000 x $.02=$76,266,120 or about the same as the Hanger sponsored half cent sales tax. And where did that money go?

Now taking your $0.125 (5%) tax number: 3,813,306,000 x$0.125 = (next line) \$476,663,250 tax increase...

But dont look now, food tax might have gone again on us...

Steve Harkonnen said...

VERY interesting ponderance on the local rag. That newspaper's agenda is clearly much different from the vast majority of Virginians. That may help explain the reason why their subscription rate is on the decline.

If someone from the paper claims differently, they are liars.