Gov. Chet Culver is still reluctant to raise the gas tax, according to a story from Fred Love at the Lee/Gazette Statehouse bureau. The Big Lug says he’s not swayed by a new report showing a widening gap between road needs and funding declines. And he points to the possibility of receiving a big stimulus check from the feds.
Yesterday, as I reported in this space, Iowa House Speaker Pat Murphy said a fuel tax increase is alive and pegs its chances at 50-50. He says its all about job creation, and argues that a stimulus check wouldn’t erase the need for a gas tax increase.
Speaking of fuel, Matthew Wilde at the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier chronicles the tough sledding for E85 in these days of cheap gasoline. He reports that the 85-percent ethanol blend just lost some more of its price advantage due to a tax change that took effect Jan. 1.
Lawmakers are talking disaster recovery. Speaker Murphy and Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal told The Gazette’s editorial board that help is on the way, perhaps by the end of the month or early Feb. The Associated Press also has a a legislative flood recovery overview, which notes that many Iowans don’t understand that recovery is still happening.
“It is not forgotten for the several thousand families not living in their homes,” Gronstal said. “I would hate to go back to Cedar Rapids in three years and have it look like the 9th Ward of New Orleans looks.”
Iowa Democrats must be feeling pretty good with a whopping 111,000-voter registration edge in Iowa, according to Mike Glover at AP. A year ago, that advantage was just 27,000 voters.
And although we have a tough legislative session approaching, at least the death penalty isn’t on the agenda. It is in Nebraska, where an Omaha World-Herald survey found that a majority of state senators there support or are seriously considering supporting lethal injection. Nebraska has the death penalty on the books, but the state supreme court ruled that Nebraska’s use of electrocution is unconstitutional.
Maybe you remember yesterday’s story about the sale of J.P. “Big Bopper” Richardson’s casket on eBay. The Register’s John Carlson gets to the bottom of the story and digs up the truth. OK, I’ll stop. Turns out premature reports of an eBay sale were greatly exaggerated.