The Maryland Liberty PAC is at it again.
It’s funny because I generally agree with these folks, but I can’t let their continued leap of logic stand. Here’s some of what we know so far:
- In 2009, Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio voted in favor of the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act of 2009.
- A few months later, I wrote in that edition of the monoblogue Accountability Project: “Someday I’m confident that future generations will look back and wonder about the folly of such a bill thinking it would actually impact the climate. In the meantime we have to reduce our emissions to 75% of 2006 levels in eleven years. I know – let’s throw out all of the industry and job creation!” Needless to say, I was against the bill.
- A couple years later, the Maryland Climate Action Plan was released. This is the document cited by those who insist that Haddaway-Riccio (and others I’ll shortly detail) were responsible for the proposed implementation of the VMT.
This is what the Climate Action Plan says about the VMT:
This policy option addresses transportation pricing and travel demand management incentive programs. It also tests the associated potential GHG reduction benefits of alternate funding sources for GHG beneficial programs. These strategies amplify GHG emission reductions from other strategies by supporting Smart Growth, transit, and bike and pedestrian investments. The draft MDOT policy design, developed by the pricing working group in Phase I, considers four strategy areas combined with an education component for state and local officials. (Emphasis mine.)
The detailed definitions of the four strategy areas are listed below:
- Maryland motor fuel taxes or VMT fees – There are two primary options for consideration: (1) an increase in the per gallon motor fuel tax consistent with alternatives under consideration by the Blue Ribbon Commission on Maryland Transportation Funding, and (2) establish a GHG emission-based road user fee (or VMT fee) statewide by 2020 in addition to existing motor fuel taxes. Both options would create additional revenue that could be used to fund transportation improvements and systems operations to help meet Maryland GHG reduction goals.
- Congestion Pricing and Managed Lanes – Establish as a local pricing option in urban areas that charges motorists more to use a roadway, bridge or tunnel during peak periods, with revenues used to fund transportation improvements and systems operations to help meet Maryland GHG reduction goals.
- Parking Impact Fees and Parking Management – Establish parking pricing policies that ensure effective use of urban street space. Provision of off-street parking should be regulated and managed with appropriate impact fees, taxes, incentives, and regulations.
- Employer Commute Incentives – Strengthen employer commute incentive programs by increasing marketing and financial and/or tax based incentives for employers, schools, and universities to encourage walking, biking, public transportation usage, carpooling, and teleworking.
The working group noted consisted (according to the report) of people from four groups:
The Working Groups provided technical guidance and included local representation though the participation of the Baltimore Metropolitan Council (BMC), the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG), Montgomery County and the City of Baltimore.
They met in the early part of 2009, pretty much simultaneously with the bill’s debate and passage, but there was no real way of knowing whether the VMT proposal would make the final cut until the report’s release two years later.
It’s a way of stretching the truth, so I’m curious why those who made a big deal out of Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio voting for the GGRA don’t say the same about David Brinkley, Richard Colburn, Barry Glassman, Andy Harris, Susan Aumann, Addie Eckardt, and Steve Schuh. All of them, along with the departed E.J. Pipkin and Richard Weldon, departing Bill Frank, and late Page Elmore, voted for the GGRA. Surprised?
Listen, I still say it was a bad vote. But this is why it pays to do your own homework, and also why one mustn’t make the perfect the enemy of the good. The Maryland Liberty PAC had Rand Paul for a recent fundraiser, but did they account for his pro-amnesty stance? Or is the Maryland Liberty PAC now in favor of illegal immigration? (Or, for that matter since Rand is doing a July event for them, is the Maryland GOP itself pro-amnesty?)
It seems to me that’s the same sort of stretch MDLPAC and others make when saying Jeannie Haddaway backs a VMT. And of the group of Republicans above, Aumann and Schuh co-sponsored an anti-VMT measure. Does that cleanse them of their previous sins? You can do this with any politician who holds legislative office (as you’ll read further in part 2 tomorrow), which is why outsiders can look so temptingly good.
I went and looked at the issues, one by one, to make my decision. It was a measured decision, not made because of hype or because I was a follower of a particular candidate. So while it disappointed me that Haddaway voted this way (which I knew about back in 2009), I took the 20% or so bad with the 80% or so good.
In part 2 tomorrow I will look at another candidate.
One thought on “The 80-20 rule (part 1 of 2)”
I agree it’s a stretch to say Haddaway supports a VMT tax. It was the department of transportation which proposed the measure, and which testified in 2013 that they wanted to keep the option for this open, it hadn’t been written at the time of Haddaway’s vote.
You can see the testimony by the DOT on the VMT at this link, go to time index 2:59:00 where you can hear DOT spokesperson refuse to answer questions from the committee as to whether they are planning to create a VMT tax.
It’s the members of the administration whose names were on the climate action plan, and the leadership of the ways and means committee, as to why they wanted to keep “Track And Tax” on the table, and what additional costs on motorists they would and would not contemplate.
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