Chris Beutler’s Solution for Lincoln’s Roads

November 22, 2006 at 8:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I can’t say much for the timing of the announcement—who makes a big proposal right before a holiday weekend?—but Chris Beutler’s “New Roads to Good Jobs” plan is worth a look. NRGJ is a proposal to fund Lincoln’s impending street needs (some $135 million worth) through sales taxes specially set aside within development districts on the city’s edge. The districts would be like tax increment financing districts, but with sales tax revenue.

Some quick thoughts:

  • Awesome! The first big news of the election season is (1) an actual, honest-to-goodness plan, and (2) not an attack on another candidate’s character. That makes me very, very happy.
  • If the new sales taxes are all going to roads, what happens to the funding for all of the things that would have been funded by the sales taxes had they not been directed exclusively to roads? Beutler’s comments so far seem to imply that he’s using “free money”. For example: “Tying those bonds to the sales tax created by new businesses allows the city to reap benefits without further burdening our taxpayers.” Well, right. But the plan isn’t costless. If the money is going into a pot for roads, it has to come out of a pot for something else. Whose pot is getting robbed?
  • “New Roads to Good Jobs”? I don’t like it. For one thing it has the distinct ring of politspeak. For another, it implies that the roads to good jobs will be primarily on the outskirts of town (or, heaven forbid, out of town). And the letters (NRGJ?!) don’t even spell anything neat. But picking on the proposal’s name is a minor quibble.

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beerorkid November 23, 2006 at 1:50am

I work in the legislature.  I must say Beutler is one of my top 3 favorites.

It was awesome watching him in action.  He was well known for adding amendments to bills.  He studied and either admended or spoke on at least 90% of the bills passed.  He like the loved or hated Senator Chambers refused to let crappy bills pass unless he can make them better for the people of the state.

I am really looking forward to him possibly being mayor.  He actually cares, and that is hard to get an elected official to do sometimes.

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