Monday, February 25, 2008

Transportation Bill Override Thoughts

As a guy who drives about 1,000 miles and fills my gas tank 4-5 times per week, I think it's about time we raised the gas tax. While I fully understand that it is a regressive tax and it will have an impact on my pocketbook, I'm more than willing to do my share to fix our roads and bridges. The time to "red pen" every piece of sensible and responsible legislation has come and gone.

I've read the right wing blogs and listened to Jason Lewis on my way home tonight. I'm not surprised in the least at their outrage.

I'm proud of Senator Dille. Campaigning against him in 2006, I saw firsthand his support for a gas tax increase and reasonable transportation solutions. He's a man of his word. He said he'd support it and did.

While the right wing bloggers and Jason Lewis condemn legislators like Senator Dille, those in the House and Senate Republican minority, who opposed sensible transportation solutions, should be commended for putting their political allegiances ahead of what is right for the safety and economic security of Minnesota.

This override vote proves that inaction on transportation was no longer an option. A bipartisan coalition of legislators decided that safe roads and bridges and job creation were too important to be waylaid by the Governor's unwillingness to make this investment.

The Startribune had a LTE in this morning talking about the state's need for investment.
This transportation funding bill is a compromise and reflects the legislative process at its best. This compromise has the support of not only the Itasca Project and its 45 CEOs of the state's largest companies, but it has the support of virtually all of the state's major business and trade organizations.

45 CEO's of the state's largest companies supported this measure. Don't Lewis and the other right wingers talk about how these tax increases will push business out of the state? It's interesting that 45 CEO's clearly dispute that rhetoric.

Dean Urdahl chose to vote with the minority. He chose to side with the obstructionists. Once again, he put politics before the people.

Hats off to Senator Dille and the other GOP members that came across the aisle to vote for a sensible transportation package!

1 comment:

eric zaetsch said...

In parlimentary countries this would be a vote of no confidence, and would call for a general election.

At least, given that we do not do that with our separate executive, Pawlenty as a show of gratitude for the system being that way should throw the Lt. Guv off the train. If not entirely dumping her as agency head AND Lt. Guv, at least give MnDOT to an engineer instead of a politician and fool.

And all that road time - I hope you drive a hybrid. All the whining about a modest tax increase when the oil companies and producing nations/cartels have been doing pure havoc with price gouging, and the pure idiot Jason Lewis is blathering over a tempest in a teapot tax while corporate excess is blessed as proper market capitalism by the same commentator, that is pure nonsense.

Back to priorities - competing with the Chinese for cement and rebar and running up prices in those energy-intensive markets just to pave more roads is not necessarily the best infrastructure investment we could make. I think Olson's long term view of energy independence with wind energy utilized more, and the shift to more telecommuting for job activity where possible is best. Some things require road time just as some jobs cannot be outsourced. Building and machinery maintenance is an example. You go onsite, there is no other way, except with aircraft repair.

The entire infrastructure capital investment question is not an easy question, especially when globalization and infrastructure investment in Guatamala vs. Minnesota is part of the debate.

I don't know if we can rightly say we are entitled, somwhow, to better lives than the Guatamalans simply because we were born into a site of greater wealth, just as with the question of the children of the rich and their view of entitlement leads them to prejudice discussion with the term "death tax" when the measure is and always was an "estate tax."