In response to Mr. Tabor’s letter to the editor, I would like to clarify some misleading statements that were written in the East Oregonian article.

First, I was asked to commit to a “yes” vote on an $8.2 billion dollar transportation package, HB2017, while still in its developmental stage in order for my district to receive any funding on special projects. At that time, there was a 14-cent gas tax proposed, added fees on the sale of new and used cars, mileage tax, a proposed gravel tax, transit tax, bike sales tax, tolls, tax on employee payroll and more.

At the bill’s inception, there was no commitment from the Democratic Party to reduce or eliminate the low carbon fuels tax that would potentially increase fuel costs to 20 cents per gallon. To his credit, Rep. Cliff Bentz later reached a compromise that was adopted that would cap the carbon tax at around 11 cents per gallon.

I don’t feel it’s good policy to commit to any bill that hasn’t been completed. Voting without knowing the cost/benefits are is like Nancy Pelosi who said, “We have to vote for the bill to see what’s in it.”

I don’t operate in that fashion. I don’t function that way in business, and I don’t think it’s in the best interest of the taxpayers to function that way in the Legislature.

Representatives were asked to provide needed projects in their districts. I reached out to Wallowa, Union and Umatilla County commissioners for projects in those counties, which I submitted. Contrary to the article in the EO, I was not contacted or lobbied by the mayor of Pendleton. By the time the transportation package was completed, the transportation group had leveraged and secured enough early “yes” votes to pass. Unwilling to commit early to an unfinished bill, District 58 projects were not given. Fourteen Republicans in the House (as well as six Democrats) and seven Republicans in the Senate voted no on the bill.

Greg Barreto

Oregon State Representative, House District 58

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