I am writing to briefly respond to the Shredder’s recent rant regarding my vote on AB 8 (“Hypocrisy and taxes,” Dec. 5). While I try not to make it a habit to engage in debate with misinformed individuals that hide their identities behind pseudonyms, I do not believe his inaccurate tirade should go unanswered. The author claims that I am a hypocrite for signing a no new tax pledge when campaigning for office in 2010 and then voting for the tax extensions contained in AB 8. To be clear, I did sign the pledge, and I do not believe that new taxes are the solution to our state’s chronic budget difficulties. This is not a secret, nor is it news. That said, I do believe that government can play a positive role in many areas and have never hesitated to support government programs that accomplish important objectives.
These positions are not mutually exclusive. As such, when faced with a measure such as AB 8, which funds clean air programs by extending an existing tax, I did not hesitate to do what I believed was in the best interest of the state and the people of the 35th Assembly District. In his eagerness to brand me as a lackey for the oil industry, the author failed to mention the positive impact that AB 8 has on the agriculture, fishing, and trucking industries, which are important components of our local economy. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone when I vote to support a policy that keeps Central Coast residents working.
The author doesn’t have to take my word for it. To understand the real impact that the programs funded by AB 8 have on the Central Coast, I suggest he contact one of the 17 local farmers who received grants to purchase new ARB-compliant tractors in 2012. Alternatively, the author may want to contact one of our local trucking companies to understand how ARB requirements have forced them to retire pre-2003 trucks before the end of their useful life. Without the down payment assistance funded by AB 8, smaller companies could be forced to shut down rather than purchase costly new equipment.
It’s disappointing that anonymous critics complain about Republicans being obstructionists, while also criticizing Republicans who work across party lines in the best interest of our state.
-- Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian - Arroyo Grande