Letter to the Editor
If top priority is highways, then fund it properly
Tuesday, August 13, 2002
To the editor:
In all the analysis of why Proposition B failed, one thing screams out to me by its conspicuous absence: choices of how to spend the state's money.
The talk is about how roads are so important and how we must raise taxes to pay for roads. Let's say roads are the No. 1 or No. 2 or even No. 10 priority of the state. Taxpayers do not want more taxes. The obvious thing to do is look at priority No. 11 through priority No. 99,000 and figure out where to cut.
I find it insulting to say my taxes need to be raised to pay for this high priority when other priorities are still in the budget. Saying the state needs to raise taxes to cover a high-priority item tells me the legislature and governor are not properly budgeting money to top priorities first.
Roads are not being held hostage to higher taxes. Roads are being held hostage to the lowest-priority item in the state budget. And those low-priority items should be cut. Then we can see if it is worth raising taxes to restore funding those low-priority items.
There is speculation that with all the new legislators coming in due to term limits, they will not have the stomach to put together another tax plan. This misses the point of term limits. Maybe since they are new and have no long-standing ties with special interests, they can see that we don't really need to spend money on the low-priority budget items.