No sooner had the 35W bridge collapsed into the Mississippi River than liberals began asserting, in a weird leap of logic, that the state’s bridges would be safe if only our taxes were higher. We commented on a particularly nasty column here. In the immediate aftermath of the accident, plans were laid for a special session of the legislature at which, it was generally assumed, a gas tax increase would be passed, as insisted on by the Democrats and even some Republicans.
Not so fast, say the voters. Local bloggers have been all over this story (including Captain Ed, who has links to the others). Local TV station KSTP, along with Survey USA, polled 500 Minnesotans on the issue. Based on the results, it appears that most people see the liberals’ political opportunism for what it is.
Only 38% say that the “state gas tax should be increased to pay for improving the condition of our roads and bridges.” Fifty-seven percent say No. Interestingly, the consensus is non-partisan. Democrats are no more likely than Republicans to support a gas tax increase.
Answers to the other questions are interesting as well. An overwhelming majority, 75%, approve of Governor Tim Pawlenty’s response to the disaster, with only 19% disapproving. A substantial majority, 65%, also approve of President Bush’s response to the disaster, but here, 32%, and 49% of Democrats, disapprove. The President came to Minnesota, surveyed the scene, gave a press conference, and pledged federal help. I’m not sure what there is to criticize; that 32% is probably the hard core that disapproves of the President every morning when he gets out of bed.
The moral of the story is that conservatives shouldn’t be panicked every time something goes wrong. Most people are rational enough to understand that a tax increase and more government spending are not the appropriate responses to every problem.
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