Senate Republicans were flabbergasted today after Gov. Bill Ritter said he remains unsure how he will fund Colorado's most critical transportation needs--weeks into the 2008 legislative session and almost a year after he set up a panel to study the issue.But if Ritter had to choose, he is leaning towards a plan that will hit the family pocketbook:
The plan the governor's transportation panel has been touting involves up to $100-a-vehicle registration fee hikes. Ritter admitted to lawmakers at today's gathering that a fee hike, "...is something that can happen without going to the voters."In this instance, while Ritter is going astray, Republicans are on the right track. The opposition party is arguing for a constitutional change that ensures transportation funds are used for their intended purposes, not spent on other pet projects so Democrats can leave roads and bridges unfixed and come back begging for a tax increase:
[Senate minority leader Andy] McElhany said asking voters for permission to raise revenue not only is the right thing to do, but it is also the only realistic way to fund transportation.Fiscal responsibility is certainly not a hallmark of Colorado's current Democratic administration.
"If you don't go to the ballot and secure any transportation funding in the constitution, I have full faith the General Assembly will fritter away those funds on other programs sooner or later," he said. "If the governor doesn't understand that, he is naive."