In the past couple of days, the DE GOP (almost extinct) has taken to the NJ editorial pages to push more of their innumerate BS — going back to their message of having all The Government You Can Eat for free. Even though that is not true, they’ve decided that no one will get the math — apparently taking their cue from Colin Bonnini. Both are taking aim at the .10/gallon gas tax proposal, and neither grapple with the fact that there are 1) real costs to getting road improvements and repairs done, 2) there have to be revenues to pay for those costs, or 3) be very clear about what improvements, repairs and programs they would be willing to see die on the vine in order to get the budget in shape:
Oh, to have Connecticut’s “problem” of how to spend an additional $365 million. Or in Wisconsin and Michigan, where revenue forecasters have raised estimates for the next 18 months by $893 million and $971 million, respectively. Nationally, according to Moody’s Analytics, state revenues were up 6.7 percent for the fiscal year ending in June 2013.
Michigan cut taxes on its businesses, but raised taxes on the working poor and retirees and cut education spending. Michigan also has a sales tax, which would increase as people feel more comfortable spending. Are we to take it that Senator Simpson is going to advocate for Connecticut’s income tax rate? Or Connecticut’s sales tax rates or even their vehicle registration fees? Or how about CT’s incredibly high property tax rates — is Senator Simpson proposing those too to get to a surplus? Then again, California, Minnesota and New York also have budget surpluses, but none of them got theirs in an ALEC-approved manner. It doesn’t make much sense to compare Delaware to any of these states — all of which have higher income taxes, all have sales taxes, higher gas taxes (!) and mostly higher property taxes. Many of these taxes are responsive to increased spending activity by their citizens. Our taxes are lower — as I understand it — because we can rely so heavily on corporate taxes. Anyone think that Senator Simpson will endorse higher corporate taxes so we can get the kind of budget surpluses these other states have?
Pretty much every state he cites as an example has had tax increases of some kind since 2009. There were not many states who could balance their budgets otherwise. Taxes is still a responsible way to making sure that state services get done — because no one has a magic wand that removes snow or fixes the potholes on Rt 13. Of course, he continues to peddle the idea that some small business somewhere is not hiring because of taxes. That business is not hiring because they do not have the business demand to support additional staff. That’s Business 101. That business’ problem is less about taxes and more about not having enough customers. These fairy tales need to die.
THEN, there’s today’s missive from Reps. Hudson and Short — complaining that the NJ has not covered their “substantive” proposal to fix DelDOT’s fiscal woes. In short, the DEGOP is proposing to take the DelDOT operating budget out of the Trust Fund. That focuses the Trust Fund entirely on road projects and places the day-to-day operating budget back into the General Fund. Which is fine, but it never answers the question of how you now pay for this operating budget. The operating budget costs money — and everyone is bitching about .10/gallon to fix roads — so how exactly do Hudson and Short plan on paying for this new item to the budget? It definitely has to be paid for, and hand-waiving at efficiencies is not a plan. Details is what sells this kind of thing to the people who are paying attention, otherwise the only people to even take up this idea are the usual teajhadis who could use some Common Core remedial math. So this plan from the GOP doesn’t pay for a damn thing — it just moves money around and hopes you don’t notice the vaporware here.
Road repair and expansion certainly won’t pay for themselves. And I’m back to asking EVERYONE in the GA to get serious about dealing with our roads. You can’t just approve every single bit of development that comes down the pike and then pretend that no one needs the roads to support them. Or that the roads that we have (as battered as they are by recent snow removal) don’t need fixing. Unless, of course, you’re OK with paying for torn up tires and broken tie rods.