Friday, April 3, 2009

Prevailing stubbornness 'fuels' higher taxes

Kentucky politicians say more revenue is needed to pave decaying roads and build new ones. So they froze (aka "raised") the gas tax at 22.5 cents, instead of allowing it to drop by 4 cents -- as it was scheduled to do on Wednesday (April 1).

In a recent Bluegrass Beacon column, I take issue with this tax -- not because money isn't needed for Kentucky roads, but because lawmakers don't want to prioritize. For example, more than an estimated $250 million could be freed up during the next budget biennium -- just by bringing labor costs on public projects more in line with private-sector wages.

However, eliminating prevailing wages on public projects would anger labor unions and demand that lawmakers do their job: make tough decisions.

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