Wednesday, February 09, 2005

The Transportation Two- Step

Josh Loftin in today's Deseret News deftly tackles the increasingly complicated debate over transportation funding. This debate brings up some questions. House Republicans have threatened to raise taxes next year if transportation is not "fully funded" this year. So what does "fully funded" mean? House Republicans say it means $85 million annually. But wait a second, the Senate Republicans are considering even different numbers to "fully fund" transportation. They have considered numbers as high as $95 million and numbers far lower than $85 million. Governor Hunstsman has suggested a one time sum of $33 million would be enough. While Democrats prefer to tackle the issue of transportation funds by talking about teacher salaries (a much used trick that helps keep them in the perma- minority), their number is certainly lower than the Republican's. The House Republican's use of the term "fully funded" and their threat of taxes is meaningless. It creates a false impression that a Republican wish list is an approprate or mandatory minimum budget. The House and Senate should go with Governor Huntsman's number of $33 million. It's a considerable amount of money that still leaves room to fund other priorities. If the amount ends up being too little, we can talk about it next time. Until then, I'm sure the Republic will stand.

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