The best bus ever

The best bus ever
Jason Sievers' awesome Art in Transit bus

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Statesman: Initiative may be best route to transit

The Idaho Statesman editorialized today that because the balky Idaho Legislature doesn't want to address local option taxing authority, citizens may need to take on the job ourselves.

Resistant and obstinate pretty much sums up the Legislature's sorry track record on local-option taxes. If the Legislature doesn't pass local-option legislation in the remaining weeks of the 2008 session, it is time for supporters to take their case to the people. They have a good case to make.

A voter-approved local sales tax can help communities address their looming transportation needs, in their own way. A Treasure Valley approach - one that combines roadwork with enhanced bus service and securing rights-of-way for commuter rail - might not work elsewhere. That's the inherent advantage of local-option taxes. This attribute seems lost on legislators who espouse support for local control, but balk at allowing local taxing authority

The paper doesn't like the idea of amending the state Constitution to allow local option, as some Republicans are pushing.

An amendment is a tough proposition, requiring two-thirds support both in the House and the Senate and voter approval in November.

An amendment might placate conservatives who would prefer to lock local-option language into the Constitution, but an amendment is clearly unnecessary in a state that already allows local taxing authority in limited circumstances.

If an amendment proves too narrow or unworkable, it would be cumbersome or impossible to repair.

But the newspaper admitted that there are problems with the initiative approach, too. Click here to read the whole editorial.


Anonymous said...

This is off-topic, and I'd prefer to email this to you, but cannot find contact info. But it's too cool not to share!

Finding Love on the Bus

Bikeboy said...

Idaho's Legislature won't find "love on the bus" - that's for sure!

One of Idaho's problems with the "voter initiative" process is - historically if the Legislature doesn't like what the citizens are doing, they just override it the next session. (I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it. All those beet farmers and goat ropers "know what's best for us.")

I continue to prefer a modest gas tax to fund transit, if the bureaucracy wasn't in the way. Seems the most fair to me. Let the folks who choose to drive their single-occupant vehicles pay a bit more to support those who choose more responsible transportation choices.

(Julie - I could SWEAR that in Ada County, there's a slightly higher gas tax, that's used to support the paramedics, or the 911 system, or ACHD, or something like that. I wish you could track it down. For a while, maybe 10 years ago, Boise's gas ran 5 cents more than Nampa's... it's all kinda balanced out again now, as such things tend to do.)

Julie Fanselow said...

I agree with the gas tax, both to fix the roads and help build transit (if that's doable). Bikeboy, I'll look into that if I get a chance.

danielo, the link is cool. Thanks. Your pic is scary, though!