Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Mark Green's Press Release Politics

After a Journal-Sentinel article yesterday left question marks about what Mark Green would do to the gas tax as governor, the Green Team released a press statement pointing to a November 2005 pledge by Congressman Green to lower the gas tax by two cents.

Clear now? Not really.

Here's how the JS explains the effect of the two-cent cut in a follow-up article today (emphasis mine):

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In his statement Monday, Green said he would stand by a November 2005 pledge to eliminate a 2-cents-a-gallon gas tax used to clean up leaking underground fuel tanks and for other environmental programs. The remaining 30.9 cents a gallon goes toward transportation.

Trimming the 2 cents would leave no revenue source for those programs. It also would mean $273 million in bonds would have to be paid off with other funds. Green's campaign would not say how he would pay off the bonds or fund the programs. Together, the bond repayment and programs cost $79 million a year.

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Dan Leistikow, a Doyle aide, hits it on the head: "It's pretty clear [Green]'s trying to govern by press release and blow a huge hole in his budget."

But the hoopla doesn't stop there. Here's Green's campaign manager Mark Graul on the situation: "Mark Green is not saying he's going to raise the gas tax. In fact, the only thing he has said for sure is he wants to lower it by two cents. . . . He will say categorically that he will not raise the gas tax unless it is accompanied by some other kind of relief for Wisconsinites."

So Green hasn't said he's going to raise gas tax, he has said he's going to lower it, but he's not against the possibility of raising it.

Follow that?

Maybe we'll get another press release today to clear it up.

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Side-Note: Check out this post for another example of Green's preference for press release politics.

UPDATE: Xoff has more on how the hoopla described above speaks directly to Green's qualifications for governor.

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