Saturday, March 10, 2007

Ironic, isn't it (H246)

Ironic, isn't it? When the House Revenue and Taxation Committee rejected H246, better known as the bill to allow for local option taxes for mass transit, it actually made a decision counter intuitive to everything that it claimed to be fighting for. Let me explain.

The so-called "Tax Hawks" on the Committee regularly say they want to do virtually anything they can to lower the taxes their constituents (or major corporate donors) pay. So given the fact that local option taxes would reduce the amount of transportation dollars needed by the Treasure Valley (assuming it were to pass), thus resulting in less tax burden, its curious at a minimum that they would reject this proposal. You see, as access to mass transit increases, then the need to continuing expanding lanes on I-84 and other road infrastructure decreases. This isn't just some liberal-hippie construct, its a fact of life that has played itself out throughout the country (even in our neighboring state of Utah who have embraced mass transit in major way).

The next irony is the anti-local control component. Throughout campaigns we hear how local control is important and how elected officials will give the power back to the people. These words even come out of the mouths of the members of the Committee, although they fail repeatedly to live that out. All I am saying is that if you really believe in local control then legislate like it.

Finally, there is the issue of air quality. Now, I know you are probably scratching your head on how this could possibly be an irony. Well, it follows similar logic as the first example. The folks that opposed the local option tax, also tend to really love their corporate donors. Now, I'd be remiss if I didn't said that virtually everyone benefits from corporate donation. Although I never really have, most legislators do. So how do corporate donors and air quality tie together? Simple. If the Treasure Valley continues its streak of poor air quality it will go in to what the EPA calls non-attainment, which could be avoided if we had better access to mass transit. Non-attainment will result in the Feds coming down hard and implementing a multitude of very restrictive environmental policies. These policies are sure to cramp everyone's style and pocketbooks, including the corporate donors. As a result, the margins will get smaller and they will have less money to donate to reelect the obstructionist that claimed to be legislating in their interests. Ironic, isn't it?

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