A panel of legislative leaders has decided to appoint a committee to study how best to resolve the state’s road funding dilemma.
DOT officials say the state’s gas tax receipts — which are dedicated to road construction and repair — won’t be enough to cover all the needs and the gas tax should be hiked.
Senate President Jack Kibbie, a Democrat from Emmetsburg, says lawmakers are taking the unusual step of ensuring the committee examining the issue has an equal number of Republicans and Democrats — in hopes of coming up with a bipartisan solution. "Our highway system in this state is becoming a disaster. Everybody wants a road fixed, but no body wants to pay for it," Kibbie says. "…Construction costs have just gone up so much it’s eating up the money too fast."
The Legislative Council has appointed 14 different committees to meet over the summer and fall to tackle a wide variety of issues.
Senate Republican Leader Mary Lundby of Marion is chiding her Democratic colleagues, however, for failing to follow through on a promise to appoint a committee to examine the state’s campaign finance laws. "The cost of campaigns has been on the forefront for a long time and now we’re just simply ignoring it," Lundby says. "…We stand up on the (Senate) floor and we bitch about it and we say how bad it is and then we’re not committed to doing anything about it."
Lundby says Democrats who control the legislature’s debate agenda — and the number of "interim study committees" that will meet this summer and fall — had assured her campaign reform would be one of the topics addressed.