October 22, 2014

Dear Texas voters: Vote No on Proposition 1

First, to refresh your memory, there is one constitutional amendment proposition on this year's ballot.

It reads as follows:

“The constitutional amendment providing for the use and dedication of certain money transferred to the state highway fund to assist in the completion of transportation, construction, maintenance, and rehabilitation projects, not to include toll roads.”
There's the "what."

Now, here's the "why" on voting no.

First, this is similar to Prop. 6 from a year ago, that wanted to tap the Rainy Day Fund for water projects. It's not that I'm averse to using the RDF; I certainly supported tapping it during the Great Recession for school funding, especially based on Comptroller Susan Combs' real fake projections on where the state's revenue stood.

I don't support using the RDF for non-emergency needs, though, especially when the non-emergency problem, in both cases, has been manufactured by the Republican Party.

And, with that, I'm going to do an expanded version of what I said under my overall 2014 endorsements.

In this case, I see this as further encouraging Republican bad behavior on refusing to be willing to pay adequately for an adequate level of services in Texas.

Dear Texas GOP: You want better roads? Fine — dedicate 100 percent of the state gas tax to roads and other needs. If that's not enough, then, do what the feds also should be doing. With more fuel-efficient vehicles, raise the gas tax.

If not dumping any of the gas tax in the general fund means other things are getting shortchanged? Well, then it's time for you to start being honest with the Texas general public, isn't it?

And a note to wingnuts who pull the "R-only" lever, too.

Your Texas Lege inflicts "fees" on you regularly. It forces counties to inflict even more "fees" on you.

These "fees" are nothing other than taxes by another name.

You're already paying more now for some things, even with a state that, contra the GOP talking points, isn't running at full efficiency.

Finally, there's a bait-and-switch of sorts.

Many people will see the last phrase and think this means no more toll roads in Texas, I'll venture. All this means is that the RDF won't pay for toll roads.

But, revenue is fungible. TxDOT will still be able to OK any toll project it wants.

Beyond that, none of this RDF money would be set aside for urban mass transit, so it's a failure there, too.

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