Tuesday, January 13, 2009

People vs. potholes

Cross-posted from Rep. Branden Durst's Idaho18 blog

So what do we mean when we (Democrats in the Idaho Legislature) say "people versus potholes"? Simply stated, we mean that in a time of economic downturn, it doesn't make sense to us to raise taxes on already-hurting Idahoans to build roads while cutting critical services like education and professional technical programs.

Oh, but Senate Transportation Committee Chairman John McGee says "People AND Potholes," so maybe there isn't any conflict. Well, let's consider his reasoning. According to McGee, potholes represent job creation. He is right: They do, but not necessarily for Idahoans. You see, Idahoans aren't required to get the contracts for road jobs and there is quite a bit of very recent precedent to suggest they won't. I for one don't want to advocate for a tax increase on my constituents so that we can employ people that aren't going to help stimulate our Idaho economy.

Let's not miss something. Do roads need improving? Yes, yes and yes. Unfortunately, as I stated above, without any certainties that Idahoans would be employed, this isn't the BEST use of our money. Idahoans will see more benefit and for a longer period by keeping education strong and building up our workforce. We need to stop looking at the short-term and start thinking about our future.