“Lisa Jones” is a contributing writer on Leavenworth St.
This week, Jim Smith, a Republican senator, proposed LB610, a six-cent a gallon increase to the gas tax over the next four years. Monies from this tax will repair transportation infrastructure across the state. Per the OWH, a person who drives an average of 15,000 miles a year will pay $45.00 in extra tax by year four.
Reaction was mixed from the other senators, with the “more conservative” Republican wing saying that Smith should have a very strong argument to get support for a tax increase. For his part, Governor Ricketts called for the new roads director to find “creative solutions” to the infrastructure issue (I can’t be the only one who thought “duct tape!”) and said he would not support any tax increase, giving tired bloggers and reporters everywhere the chance to create intrigue around two Republicans disagreeing.
That said–it seems rational and responsible to invest in the state’s infrastructure. Not that I’m in favor of tax increases generally, but Republicans should be able to articulate and thoughtfully dialogue about the benefits of some spending, or if we say no, come to the table with alternatives. Republicans fall short with alternatives. We think the “no” should suffice and endear us to the voter–which leaves us with politicians who can say in their next campaign ad that they never supported a tax increase–and decrepit bridges. We need more than a “no” here. We need a solution.
Kudos to Senator Smith for thinking outside political expediency on this one. It will be interesting to see how the other Republicans respond.