Busy highway

Transportation Secretary Calls for ‘Long-Term’ Solution to Transpo Funding

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx called for Americans across the country to “get a little noisier” on the issue transportation funding Wednesday and asked them to pressure Congress to come up with a long-term solution to the issue.

Foxx approved of the $10.9 billion stopgap lawmakers enacted last week to keep the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) solvent through next May but wants Congress to pass a multi-year bill before the year’s end, Politico Pro reports (sub. req’d).  He said that Americans just need to be given the facts “as we know them.”

If that’s the case, Americans should know that “many individual states are trying to compensate for the lack of congressional action on long term funding by raising additional revenue of their own,” according to Ken Orski of Innovation NewsBriefs.  

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Obama’s Lawless Actions

Heritage Action CEO Michael A. Needham discussed President Obama’s lawlessness on Fox News Sunday.   The panel also included the Wall Street Journal’s Kim Strassel, Fox News contributor Juan Williams, and National Journal’s Ron Fournier.   Watch the exchange below.

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Small Biz Owner on Ex-Im Bank: “For Smaller Companies, It’s Useless”

A recurring theme among Export-Import Bank supporters is that, at its heart, it’s all about small business.

One Tallahassee small business owner was completely candid about his negative experience with the Export-Import Bank, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.  Ron Conroy of Verdicorp is more than happy to see the bank’s authorization expire on Sept. 30.

Tallahassee-based Verdicorp, which makes heating and air conditioning systems, used the program once — to insure sales to a foreign buyer in case the purchaser defaulted. That didn’t happen.

Verdicorp owner Ron Conroy says he has no plans to use the bank again because he said bank officials are more interested in helping larger companies.

“If you send them aircraft, they’re very good. (But) anything less than $10 million, they don’t want to (deal with) you. They say they do but they don’t,” he said. “For the country, it’s worth having. But for smaller companies, it’s useless.”

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Busy highway

How States Compensate for Less Federal Transportation Funding

In Kenneth Orski’s latest Innovation Brief, Orski explains what the states have done to buffer themselves from the effects of less transportation funding from the federal government — and it’s not the dire picture being painted by big spenders in Washington: 

While transportation stakeholders and the Washington press corps are focusing on the impending Highway Trust Fund shortfall and the emerging House-Senate consensus to “patch” the Fund with $10.8 billion in short-term funding until May 2015, they are ignoring developments outside the Beltway that go a long way to compensate for the lack of an assurance of long-term federal funding.  For in fact, individual states, far from sitting idly by, are responding to the current fiscal uncertainties in Washington by stepping up and raising additional revenue to meet their transportation needs. 

Twenty-eight states have launched transportation-related revenue initiatives according to surveys by the American Road and Builders Association (ARTBA), the National Council of State Legislatures and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO).

Collectively, these measures are generating billions of additional dollars for state and local transportation programs and providing a buffer against the possibility of delayed federal reimbursements and inadequate federal funding.

State officials we have talked to are quick to remind that “we cannot do it all” and that all levels of government, including the federal government, should share in the cost of maintaining and improving the nation’s highways.  But they concede that the recent revenue initiatives by various state legislatures are helping to relieve concerns about a slowdown in highway construction and cushion the impact of any eventual reduction in federal funding.   

 

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Ex-Im Bank: “Unjustified, Inefficient Corporate Welfare”

Many Americans may not have heard of the Export-Import Bank — a fact frequently noted by the media — but the fight over whether or not to renew the Bank’s charter before it expires in September is a pivotal one in Washington this year. Politicians’ stance on the issue will serve as a litmus test for their commitment to Main Street rather than well connected special interests.

The good news, as NPR reports, is that Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, is leading the charge against the Bank’s reauthorization.

With Hensarling and other top House Republican leaders ready to kill the bank, it may be difficult for the bank to get the votes it needs to stay in business.

Why are they so staunchly opposed? Veronique de Rugy of the Mercatus center describes the Bank this way, and explains why anyone who really understands how the Bank works should oppose it:

We don’t agree on much in Washington. But given all of the economic and social problems our nation faces, everyone should agree that the federal government should not direct our limited public resources primarily to wealthy, politically connected corporations. This is what the Export-Import Bank does.

Some say that there are good reasons to continue doing this. They say that the bank, known as the Ex-Im Bank, promotes U.S. exports, protects jobs and is a good deal for taxpayers. None of these arguments withstand scrutiny.

And Daniel Boudreaux, an economist at George Mason University agrees:

“In my camp, the Export-Import Bank has always been a prime example of unjustified, inefficient corporate welfare,” Boudreaux says. “The fact that there’s a Tea Party movement now, that’s what gives opposition to the Export-Import Bank some legs to stand on now.”

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