With votes scheduled for Thursday, Republicans have ramped up their criticism of a $5.2 billion road-funding agreement between Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic legislative leaders.
The package’s billions of dollars in higher taxes and fees, goes a main line of attack, wouldn’t be necessary if lawmakers in the past hadn’t taken transportation money to help pay for unrelated programs.
“We can fix our roads and bridges by simply ensuring that the billions of dollars that drivers are already paying in transportation fees and taxes are actually used for transportation purposes, rather than being swept into the state’s general fund,” read a joint statement from Assembly and state Senate Republicans after the plan’s release. Online ads have made similar claims.
The allegation is misleading. It’s true that California governors and lawmakers – of both parties – borrowed heavily from transportation-related accounts after the dot-com bust and during the recession. But the amount of borrowing never amounted to the $5.2 billion a year this package would produce. And most of the money has been paid back. The rest would be paid back in three years if the package is approved.
Republicans also say the state could produce that kind of money if the sales tax on car sales went strictly to transportation. But that money has never been earmarked for road projects in California. Under that logic, the sales tax on shoe sales would pay for sidewalks.
In short, being incompetent and stupid are the cornerstones of the Republicans in the California Legislature. You really have to wonder what’s really going on in their heads?
Read the whole story in the Sacramento Bee