Governor Chet Culver and fellow Democrats in the legislature appear to be at odds the idea of raising the state’s gas tax to fund road construction and repair. Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs says the state’s road fund needs a 200-million dollar cash infusion over the next two decades, and Democratic legislators plan to respond.
"I don’t know that we’ll make a $200 million judgment, but we’ll make some judgment as to whether or not additional resources should be put in there and how we get those additional resources," Gronstal says. "I don’t think we’ve put anything off the table or on the table." Governor Culver said Monday there is no chance he’ll sign a higher gasoline tax into law. House Democratic Leader Kevin McCarthy of Des Moines warns there won’t be a lot of excess cash for new state spending.
"The governor has asked his budget directors has asked to submit a relative, status quo budget," McCarthy says. "…There will be some resources available, but we’re going to have to prioritize if we’re going to maintain the commitments we made last year." McCarthy and Gronstal made their comments during a statehouse news conference on Monday. Democratic lawmakers met privately yesterday to draft an agenda for the 2008 legislative session which begins January 14th.