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The Washington State Legislature’s Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee (JLARC) is holding its summer hearings.

In 2007 they recommended that the Legislature give the NOVA fund the full one percent instead of the cap that is in place.

It would be nice to see them look into how our NOVA funds were ripped off.

Below is a sample email to send.

If you don’t know who your Senator and two House of Representatives members are, you can find out at www.leg.wa.gov

Their direct email addresses are formatted as follows

Lastname.firstname@leg.wa.gov

++++++

Dear Representative or Senator XXX,

As a constituent of yours, I would like to request your assistance.

Is it possible for you to recommend that the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee look into a specific issue?

We think that it is appropriate that the JLARC considered taking another look at how the non-highway fuel tax monies are refunded.

This topic was reviewed in Report 07-15 (page 133) and changes were recommended, but unfortunately the Legislature chose not to revise RCW 46.09.170 as recommended.

In fact, the Legislature chose instead to pass 2010 House Bill ESHB 1244. Section 944 of this bill completely redirects the non-highway fuel tax funds to State Parks where they provide no benefit to the offroad vehicle users that paid the fuel taxes.

Additionally this bill also redirected all of the offroad vehicle permit monies from distribution via RCW 46.09.110 and RCW 46.09.170. They gave these funds to State Parks too.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this matter.

If you would like to know more about this or any other off road vehicle issue please feel free to contact me any time.

Best regards,

you

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FYI.

My email got this interesting response from Sen Eide:

Dear Chuck:

I'd be happy to help. Are you writing as an individual or representing an organization? Please let me know and I'll draft a letter asking the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee look into how the non-highway fuel tax monies are refunded.

Sincerely,

Tracey J. Eide

Senator Tracey J. Eide

Majority Floor Leader

30th Legislative District

I sent this reply:

I wrote as an individual because the diversion of non-highway fuel tax revenue from NOVA has had a serious impact on my recreation; these funds were used to maintain trail head parking and trail maintenance for many different user groups on DNR and USFS land.

Thanks

Chuck

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FYI.

My email got this interesting response from Sen Eide:

I sent this reply:

Well done!

If you want to, you can point her my way for additional info and support.

Tod Petersen

Political Action Committee Chairman – Washington Off Highway Vehicle Alliance

Legislative/Land Use Coordinator – Northwest Motorcycle Association

16015 62nd Ave NW

Stanwood, WA 98292-5680

Email: tod701@aol.com

Phone: 360.652.5922

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Sent all three.Got a canned response from one and nothing from the other two.

Steve

It is the off-season for most of them so that's not unexpected.

Most replies, even from the good guys, will be slow.

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It is the off-season for most of them so that's not unexpected.

Most replies, even from the good guys, will be slow.

I don't expect anything from the three of the them anyway as all three of them have voted against us each and every time.And to do my duty I will vote against them each and every time.

Steve

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  • 4 weeks later...

I got a pretty good response today. Most of the time the answers I get aren't half this good.

Dear Sam,

Thank you for your email, it's nice to hear from you. I asked that our HRC Transportation staff review your request and provide me with some feedback. Now that I've heard back from him, I wanted to take a minute to respond to your comments.

I strongly opposed HB 1244 and the transfer of the NOVA funds, and also supported an amendment sponsored by Representative Shea to SB 6444 that would have removed language inserted by budget writers to try and defeat the legal challenge. I remain opposed to the handling of the budget, and the practice of transferring dedicated accounts to purposes unrelated.

This issue is really a legal question as to whether the Legislature is allowed under the state constitution to divert these funds - as this issue is still being litigated a JLARC study wont resolve that matter. Staff informed me that JLARC's 2007 study on fuel tax refunds recommended that the Legislature review its policy of limiting gas tax refunds for special recreation accounts, however the Legislature is not required to adopt or implement that JLARC recommendation. While I support your position on this matter, I don't believe a JLARC review will resolve this situation. You also may be aware that the Joint Transportation Committee is conducting a review of fuel tax refunds for off-road programs pursuant to a budget proviso in the 2010 Transportation Budget, below is a link to the page:

http://www.leg.wa.gov/JTC/Pages/NonHighwayFuelTaxStudy.aspx

I'm happy to continue this discussion with you either in person, or via telephone. Please contact Brad, my legislative assistant, and he can assist in setting that up if you would like. Please keep in touch.

Warm regards,

Norma Smith

State Representative

10th Legislative District

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I got a pretty good response today. Most of the time the answers I get aren't half this good.

Norma's pretty good and so was your timing.

I was bending her ear about this at a social event last week.

Edited by tod701
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