Iowa Senate President Jack Kibbie, D-Emmetsburg, opened the 2009 session with a call for increasing the gas tax:
“I support efforts that result in a gas tax increase. Success in that endeavor will mean better roads, jobs, and an economic boost to Iowa’s families and communities. While there may be funds for these efforts as part of the federal economic recovery package, we also need to act. It’s time to declare war on the potholes and put people to work.”
Kibbie is an old school Democrat who drove a tank in the Korean War and doesn’t do shades of gray. He served in the Senate in 1965, when Democrats took over the Statehouse and tackled little stuff like abolishing capital punishment, passing a state civil rights law, cutting the number of school districts in half, creating the community college system and reforming the Legislature. He doesn’t take polls to see where he stands on issues.
That said, Kibbie has spoken out strongly in recent years for an ethanol fuel mandate in Iowa, which has not happened. One reason is people don’t want ethanol only at the pump. So it’s not like what Kibbie says goes.
But still, his opening day pitch does get the debate started.
I, however, do rely on polling, my own unreliable, unscientific polling. At last count, with 84 votes in, a nickel gas tax increase leads 48-32 with 4 undecideds.