The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Clinton

December 17, 2013

Local Iowa Legislators back the gas tax

CLINTON — State Reps. Steve Olson, R-DeWitt, and Mary Wolfe, D-Clinton said legislators are waiting for Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad to show his support before voting on an increase in the gas tax.

During a “meet and greet” between Olson, Wolfe and the Clinton County Board of Supervisors on Monday, the topic of the state’s current gas tax, which has not been increased since 1989, came up. While Supervisor Jill Davisson said the increase sits pretty favorably in both Houses, Olson pointed out there are still some who “sit on the sidelines and bash it.”

“The Governor is going to have to step forward and lean on the thing if we’re going to get it accomplished,” Olson said. “Unless the governor really comes out and says he’s going to sign on it and leans on it, I’m not sure it’s going to move forward.”

Wolfe said she does not know why the legislators do not pass the increase now and then leave it up to Branstad to do the right thing. Instead, she sees everyone waiting on the governor.

“It’s almost like a game of chicken where nobody wants to say yes first. Everyone wants to say yes all at once so there can’t be any finger pointing,” County Engineer Todd Kinney said. “So it starts becoming less about the issue and more about the politics.”

Wolfe added that another problem is some politicians pledge to never raise taxes. She said this type of blanket statement gets in the way of progress. Kinney suggested that maybe it should become a negative campaign against those who do vote against raising the gas tax.

“The gas tax, I think, is still the the right way to do it. It’s a user fee,” Kinney said.

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