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Legislative Priorities

In another post, I outlined the recent ethics bill that the House passed which is now pending in the Senate. In fact, if you read back, you will see that the House passed most of our agenda early which is why I have had little to report recently.

Along with the ethics bill, the Senate has a long list of major bills to consider before the end of May. They are in various stages of debating the budget, infrastructure funding and establishing a department of administration.

Among the items that the Senate voted on this week was Medicaid Expansion and the nullification of the Affordable Care Act. The Expansion was voted down, as it was in the House and nullification passed.

Given my interest in the condition of our infrastructure, I have followed the Senate debate with great interest. Predictably, those who want to bond out $500 million for road needs are clashing with those who want to cut the General Fund budget by that amount. Then there are those who want to only use new tax revenue – otherwise known as non-recurring revenue – to fund the roads. A legitimate but unpredictable source.

I have commented extensively on the gas tax, so I will refrain now other than to say that any solution that doesn’t include the current gas tax will shift the responsibility of funding the roads away from those who use the roads to those who pay for everything – the working middle class. It is that simple.

I doubt that the Senate can address all of these pending bills before the end of May. Given that the General Assembly has had since January to address these issue, we are seeing a failure to prioritize or even recognize what is important.

As a reporter recently pointed out to me, what politicians deem important is usually not all that important to the average citizen. Which is a shame. Our citizens deserve more.