Keep Missouri Money in Missouri with TEA

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The Transportation Empowerment Act gives states control and funding for their roads. It is a far superior to the Highway Trust Fund, which is slush fund for pork projects.

Transportation Empowerment Act (TEA) from Senator Mike Lee would gradually shift federal gasoline taxes from Washington back to the states where they were collected without a Washington DC handling fee and without strings attached.

TEA embodies an idea I first heard from Ronald Reaganwhen he was governor of California. It’s time to end the Highway Trust Fund, which is bankrupt anyway. The HTF might have made sense when Eisenhower proposed the interstate highway system, but that project finished in 1990—during George H. W. Bush’s term in office. (Someone born in 1990 is 25 today.)

I’ve heard people freak out in public over TEA, believing it has something to do with toll roads. It doesn’t. It would give states more control over their own transportation, but it would also leave more money in states to fix problems. If states want to turn highways into toll roads, they’ll do it anyway. (Besides, I thought conservatives believed in people paying for what they use?)

Thomas Jefferson foresaw the problems with the federal government building highways. In a letter to James Madison he wrote:

Have you considered all the consequences of your proposition respecting post roads? I view it as a source of boundless patronage to the executive, jobbing to members of Congress & their friends, and a bottomless abyss of public money. You will begin by only appropriating the surplus of the post office revenues; but the other revenues will soon be called into their aid, and it will be a scene of eternal scramble among the members, who can get the most money wasted in their State; and they will always get most who are meanest.

How right TJ was.

While Congress is in recess, call your members and ask them to support TEA. Keep our money here in Missouri. Leave Washington DC to support itself for a change.

Transportation in the 21st Century Event

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You can’t get there from here.

The way people get from here to there–and how they pay for the privilege–is about to change. We want you to have a say in the future of transportation.

To help, Heritage Action for America is teaming up with St. Louis Tea Party Coalition to put on a Transportation Empowerment night on Saturday, July 25, 2015 at 6:30 p.m.

Speakers Include:

  • State Rep. Paul Curtman
  • Ryan Johnson, President, Missouri Alliance for Freedom
  • Ben Evans, Heritage Action for America

Learn about initiatives like the Transportation Empowerment Act that would keep federal gas taxes in the states where they’re paid.

Refreshments from McArthur’s Bakery provided by Heritage Action.

Facebook Event

Surprised? Transportation Empowerment Act Was Ronald Reagan’s Idea—In 1967!

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Last week I blogged that Ronald Reagan would love the Transportation Empowerment Act (TEA). I included audio of Reagan talking to Bill Buckley on Firing Line about the burden on states from onerous federal taxes and grants.

Forgive me, but that was sort of a tease. Here’s the meat: Reagan wrote a proposal for the Republican Governors’ Conference of 1967 to allow states to keep  about 2 percent of all federal taxes raised in the state. Ninety-eight percent would still go to Washington for defense and studies of monkey sex lives and whatever they do with money up there, but the states would retain two percent.

Here’s the Gipper:

Now, please call Ann Wagner’s Ballwin office and ask her to co-sponsor TEA. It’ll help her Heritage Action Score.

The Transportation Empowerment Act is the right way to deal with Missouri’s overwhelming bike path problems and provides a smart alternative to the biggest tax increase in Missouri’s history.

Video: Ronald Reagan Wants the Transportation Empowerment Act

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Want to fix Missouri’s roads and cut taxes at the same time? Well, two American conservative icons showed us the way almost 50 years ago.

The Establishment likes to attack grassroots conservatives by claiming Reagan would have opposed the Tea Party. They’re wrong, of course, and the Transportation Empowerment Act tells us why.

In 1967, shortly after Ronald Reagan became governor of California, William F. Buckley Jr. asked Governor Reagan if was even possible to be an effective governor.

“What’s meant by that,” Buckley went on:

Are we now so dependent on the federal government that the individual state is left without the scope to make its own crucial decisions? Isn’t the individual state in the matter of taxation required to make do with what amounts to the leftovers?

Reagan’s reply told the whole story:

The TEA would keep gasoline taxes in the state where they’re generated. So all the taxes you pay at the pump here in Missouri would stay in Missouri for the Missouri governor and legislature to allocate.

The Transportation Empowerment Act

Here’s how it works according to the bill’s architect, Congressman Tom Graves:

How it Works

  • Transfers almost all authority over federal highway and transit programs to the states over a five-year period.
  • Lowers the federal gas tax to 3.7 cents from 18.4 cents over the same time period.
  • During the five-year phase out, states will receive block grants that come with vastly fewer federal strings attached.

What It Does

  • Immediately reduces the bureaucratic burden involved in the construction of critical transportation projects.
  • Results in a faster administrative response to the transportation problems Americans face, such as traffic, commuting, and access.
  • Gives states greater flexibility in their tax structure.
  • Connects where people want to work with where they want to live.
  • Opens opportunities to develop new mass-transit solutions, innovate environmental protections, and improve the financing of projects.
  • Creates jobs and grows the economy.

Where Do Missouri’s Republicans Stand on TEA?

So far, the only Missouri member of Congress to sign onto the TEA Bill is Rep. Billy Long (HA-78%). That means we need to work on Ann Wagner (HA-63%), Jason Smith (HA-74%), Vicky Hartzler (HA-64%), and Sam Graves (HA-65%). (Leutkemeyer[HA-57%] is a lost cause, so I won’t ask anyone to waste their time.)

Heritage Action has key voted the Transportation Empowerment Act, meaning that all members of Congress will be judged by their performance on the bill. Because Establishment Republicans love Washington power, how our delegation handles the TEA Bill will tell us a lot about their commitment to Reagan-Buckley conservatism.

Call or visit Rep. Ann Wagner’s Ballwin office and ask her to co-sponsor HR-3486, the Transportation Empowerment Act.

Ballwin District Office

301 Sovereign Court
Suite 201
BallwinMO 63011

hours: M-F 9-5:00pm

Phone: (636) 779-5449

“People want to spend less time in traffic and more time enjoying life. Our bill does away with the Washington middleman and streamlines the highway program, allowing more projects to be completed at a lower cost. This approach paves the way for commuters to move more easily between home and work, freeing up important family time and cutting out hours of frustration behind the wheel.” – Congressman Tom Graves

Sound a lot like Reagan, doesn’t it?