Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Shots across the bow

Ok, someone has to be crass, so it might as well be me.

Actually, I can’t claim ‘first blood’ on the Minneapolis post-bridge collapse arguments that are about to commence; I was just wondering how long it would be before things started turning political.

Not too long, really. The first crack in the veneer occurred (if I recall correctly) between 9 and 10pm when a gentleman on channel 9 talked about just having met today with Representative Oberstar about the nation's infrastructure, and how it needs “funding.” Of course, not that it would have prevented this particular disaster, but you know, he said, there’s this problem out there…

Well, yes, probably true. But about an hour later a local reporter was being interviewed by a national news anchor and the reporter mentioned that the early finger pointing may be in Governor Pawlenty’s direction for having vetoed, or threatened to veto, gas tax increases aimed at road construction.

That the Democrats would bend this tragedy to electoral ends would hardly be surprising (and probably expected), so Republicans had better get ready for what the DFL will dish out and the local media gleefully parrot.

In the first place, those who complain of ‘no new taxes’ had best come up with some proof that passing a gas tax in the last two sessions would have prevented the collapse.

Secondly, we must not forget that Minnesota transportation funding got a huge boost in last November’s election with the passing of a Constitutional amendment that dedicated gas and vehicle taxes to that very purpose.

So quite frankly, the only way the ‘lack of higher taxes’ argument is going to work in such a high tax state as Minnesota is if Pawlenty and the Republicans allow it. The DFL, for it's part, better be careful and not overplay their hand. It could very well backfire.

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