Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Usual Nimrods Call for Higher Taxes...

Why can’t pro-taxers EVER get their facts straight?

Why, WHY, WHY?!

In the wake of the Minnesota bridge collapse, the lemmings of the Left predictably crowed that “THIS disaster is proof that we need higher taxes and more government spending...”

One of those espousing the gas tax hike is St. Paul. James Oberstar, the Minnesota Democrat who runs the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, who recently stood beside the wreckage and recommended an increase in the 18.4 cent a gallon federal gas tax, as a way to prevent future bridge collapses. His wing man, Alaska Republican and former Transportation Chairman Don Young, agrees whole-heartedly.

Ironically enough, these are the same men (Oberstar and Young) who played the lead role in the $286 billion 2005 federal highway bill. That's the bill that diverted billions of dollars of gas tax money away from urgent road and bridge projects toward Member earmarks for bike paths, nature trails and inefficient urban transit systems.

As recently as July 25, Mr. Oberstar sent out a press release boasting that he had "secured more than $12 million in funding" for his state in a recent federal transportation and housing bill. But $10 million of that was dedicated to a commuter rail line, $250,000 for the "Isanti Bike/Walk Trail," $200,000 to bus services in Duluth, and $150,000 for the Mesabi Academy of Kidspeace in Buhl. None of it went for bridge repair.

Minnesota's state budget is also hardly short of tax revenue. The state spends $25 billion a year, twice what it did 10 years ago. The Tax Foundation reports that Minnesota has the seventh highest personal income tax rates among all states, the third highest corporate tax rates, and the 10th highest taxes on workers.

The Legislature started the year with a record $2 billion budget surplus, and the economy threw off another $149 million of unexpected revenue. Where did all that money go? Not to roads and bridges. The Taxpayers League of Minnesota says the politicians chose to pour those tax dollars into more spending for health care, art centers, sports stadiums and welfare benefits.

Even transportation dollars aren't scarce.

Minnesota spends $1.6 billion a year on transportation - enough to build a new bridge over the Mississippi River every four months. But nearly $1 billion of that has been diverted from road and bridge repair to the state's light rail network that has a negligible impact on traffic congestion.

If Minnesota, like the feds would simply stop WASTING tax monies, it would have plenty of money to do the things that must be done.

Within that E$1.6 BILLION/year Minnesota currently spends on transportation, there’s certainly MORE than enough to maintain the current infrastructure.


Anonymous said...

Bush called them out on this, JMK.

There are several facts which never get reported:

a) As mentioned, there have been serious dollars which congress could have used but chose not to do so for bridge repairs

b) Since when is the federal government supposed to pay for all repairs of local bridges?

I may be incorrect here but I somehow feel that a bridge crossing the Mississippi between Minneapolis and St. Paul is more than likely not a federal highway but a state one. Let Minnesota pay for their own repairs. Else, I expect tha PA of NY/NJ to put the arm on the Fed for the new Tappan Zee bridge. Seems fair, right?

JMK said...

You're absolutely CORRECT, infrastructure is a state and local expense.

The tax hikers in Minnesota want to hike that state's gasoline tax, itself a duffy idea considering they already spend $1.6 Billion per year on transportation.

The real dufuses 9those who don't understand the difference between a state and local responsibility and a federal one, want to raise all taxes....oh yeah, and blame the Bush administration for Minnesota's failing to maintain its infrastructure.

Anonymous said...

The average ignoramus in the US will never understand it if he/she doesn't make the effort to think - a common failing among our self-indulgent populace.

Instead, they hear and read the siren song of Democrats that somehow, it's ALWAYS the fed's responsibility when things go wrong (see Katrina: Blanco and Nagin vs. Brown).

I really do resent the millions of morons our country has masquerading as informed citizens these days.

Jesus, something like only 7% could name the 1st 4 presidents in order - a fact I knew when I was 8!

JMK said...

Part of it might be our "video culture."

As many people say, "Who has time to read?"

And that's even true for many people who must read voluminous amounts of reports, etc. for work.

Most of us get our news from the video/TV media and it's almost monolithically Left of Center.

That's why Global Warming has taken on the status of a religious belief and why many people erroneously believe that the feds have responsibility for State and local affairs.

The feds step in, AFTER an emergency with FEMA and monetary aid. ALL the initial planning, evacuations and primary first response is the duty of local government.

The odd thing is, many of the very same people who decry "the imperial Presidency," are the ones demanding....well, a more imperial Presidency, by foisting responsibilities on it that don't belong to it.

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