Well, the usual suspects are all ganging up on Brian Bosma, the Speaker of the Indiana House, who has had the temerity to suggest that, if we want roads we can drive on, we probably need to pay for them.
As the Indianapolis Star reported
Hoosiers could pay more for gas and cigarettes under a road funding proposal being crafted by Indiana House Republican leaders.
The proposal also would provide for a study about turning I-65 and I-70 into toll roads.
House Speaker Brian Bosma provided some details about the proposal during a legislative conference Downtown on Wednesday. The funding plan would index the state’s fuel tax to inflation and gradually shift all of the 7 percent sales tax on gasoline to the motor vehicle highway fund, which is used for state and local road projects.
Bosma said the plan would create a sustainable, long-term solution for maintaining Indiana’s roads and bridges, but he acknowledged that some would consider it a tax increase.
Now, it’s perfectly reasonable to argue for alternative ways to raise the necessary revenues, or to ask for assurances that funds raised will be prudently spent– but those aren’t the arguments being mounted by Bosma’s opponents. They are opposed to anything that looks remotely like a tax. No matter what.
Senate Appropriations Chairman Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, said the proposed tax adjustments would be a tough sell in the legislature, where many Republicans have pledged never to increase taxes.
This impasse is a stark reminder that there are two kinds of Republican in Indiana (as elsewhere): those interested in actually governing, and those (like our embarrassing Governor) interested only in pulling down a public paycheck for posturing and pontificating. And there are more of the latter than the former.
News flash, ideologues: there is no free lunch. There is no way to provide necessary public services, no way to maintain critical public infrastructure, without adequate funds. Taxes are “user fees”–they are the price we pay for civilization, our social “membership dues.”
Grownups understand that.