Monday Must Reads

Happy post-holiday Monday.

I’ll bet you’re in the mood to dig into state tax policy. Well, you’re in luck, because The Gazette and Lee Newspapers carry James Lynch’s top-notch overview of how legislative Democrats say they won’t raise taxes under any circumstances, well, except:

* This pledge holds true only so long as there isn’t bipartisan support to raise the gas tax.

* The pledge does not extend to user fees or, in the case of the gas tax, taxes called user fees.

* Neither does the pledge hold true if lawmakers agree to give cities and counties additional taxing authority.

 That’s wiggle room with a side of loopholes. House Speaker Pat Murphy says a gas tax hike is really a job creation/ economic stimulus measure, not a tax increase. You may have read over the holiday that the Iowa Department of Transportation’s road-building budget shortfall is growing.

Every extra penny of gas tax raises $21 million, by the way.

The Mason City Globe-Gazette gives us our first good head shake of the week by picking up word from the AP that family members of J.P. “Big Bopper” Richardson plan to sell his casket. The Bopper was among the rock legends, Buddy Holly etc.,  killed in a plane crash near Clear Lake on Feb. 3, 1959. The Bopper was exhumed last year and moved to a new grave site, so his previous casket is now up for bids on ebay.

His son, Jay Richardson, wants to raise money for a musical show about his father’s life and music.

“I have no personal use for the casket,” he said. “When you get down to it, it is just a metal box. More important is what this particular metal box represents.

And on the opinion front, Sam Osborne over at Blog for Iowa says the Republican Party of Iowa should listen to the advice of former CR mayor and secretary of state Paul Pate, who says the GOP needs a better sound byte to define Democrats as tax-and-spenders. 

Of course, the RPI should consider that Osborne says following Pate’s advice would hasten the party’s slide into “oblivion.” So there’s that.

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