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  Internet could play key role in No Gas Tax signature push
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ContributorRalphie 
Last EditedRalphie  Jun 20, 2005 12:45pm
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CategoryPerspective
News DateMonday, June 20, 2005 06:00:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionIf the No New Gas Tax campaign can get its initiative on the ballot, it probably will set a speed record for signature drives by qualifying the measure in only one month. And it would owe its success largely to the Internet.

Opponents of the impending tax hike started collecting signatures on I-912 petitions on June 7. They have until July 8 to get 225,014 valid signatures to win a spot on the November ballot.

“With the short time span, we know how difficult it’s going to be,” said Brett Bader, a veteran political consultant and spokesman for the No New Gas Tax campaign. “The Web has certainly made it easier to organize. I don’t know what we would have done without it.”

On its Web site, initiative supporters can download copies of the petition, print them out and start collecting signatures. They also can make electronic campaign contributions with their credit cards and volunteer to do more campaign work.

I-912 would repeal the 9.5-cents-a-gallon gas tax the Legislature passed in April and Gov. Christine Gregoire signed into law in May. The tax will be phased in over three years, beginning with a 3-cent increase on July 1 that boosts the tax from 28 cents per gallon to 31 cents.

The response was overwhelming after KVI radio talk-show hosts John Carlson and Kirby Wilbur sought support for a repeal campaign and a Web site was set up in mid-May, Bader said.

“We had 8,000 people sign up and raised $80,000 in the first five days,” he said. Those totals have since grown to 15,000 supporters and between $125,000 and $150,000.

There’s also a lingering resentment that the Legislature has raised the gas tax twice – 5 cents in 2003 and now another 9.5 cents – since voters soundly defeated Referendum 51 in November 2002.

That measure, which failed by a 63-37 margin, would have raised the gas tax by 9 cents.

“We said no to 9 and they gave us 14 and a half,” Bader said.
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