Gov. Butch Otter, speaking with reporters in his office this morning after the teacher pay bill-signing, laid out his “parameters” on transportation funding for this year’s legislative session. “We’ve got a couple of issues hanging fire, and the big one of course is transportation,” Otter said, adding, “I would even say maybe the going-home bill.”
Otter said he has these “parameters” in mind:
- 1 - “We need to stay out of the general fund.”
- 2 – It must include a “significant step toward revenue needs;” and
- 3 – “I’d like to keep it user-pay,” which Otter defined as “registration and gas tax.”
He said, “Frankly, there is a bill.” It may not have a bill number yet, Otter said, but it’s “Rep. Anderson’s bill out of the House. … It’s a multiple-year solution.” Otter compared the issue to the teacher-pay issue, on which he today signed into law legislation for a five-year plan to significantly boost state funding for teacher salaries. “If I would look back on this session and say, ‘What’s different,’ I would have to say it’s been the forward looking of the Legislature,” Otter said.
Asked about tax reform, he said, “Tax reform is going to be a little tougher this year. I think most everybody recognizes that we have made a commitment” to increased education funding. He added, “If you look at some of the bills that I have turned down or not signed, it’s because I don’t want to see them shrink the general fund.”