An Iowa activist in the “Tea Party” movement says he’s establishing a new website to try to push the state’s politicians to table the idea of raising the state gas tax.
“We’re asking for just one year of people leaving this off the table while we’re in very tough economic times,” says Ryan Rhodes, founder and chairman of the Iowa “Tea Party” group. “I think that’s very reasonable.”
Rhodes already has established a Facebook page on the topic, but he’s creating a website anyone can access online, not just the folks who are on Facebook.
On Monday, Governor Branstad said it was “premature” for folks like Rhodes to take a stand on the issue before a commission Branstad has appointed to study the needs of the state’s transportation network finishes its work. Rhodes says that’s frustrating.
“It’s once again one of the real problems we have every time a commission gets formed,” Rhodes says. “It doesn’t really matter who is seems to be. Whether it’s Barack Obama, Chet Culver, Terry (Branstad) or any of these things, whoever appoints a commission — it doesn’t matter if it’s a Republican or a Democrat — the commissions always seem to want to come back and raise taxes as a solution and, right now, we’re at the point where we just can’t raise taxes.”
Rhodes says there should be ways to find other money in the state budget to dedicate to infrastructure projects. Branstad said Monday that Rhodes and others don’t “know all the facts” about the state budget and how transportation infrastructure projects are financed with gas taxes rather than general state revenue, like income taxes.