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March 05, 2009 05:24 PM UTC

Profiles In Courage: Sen. Al White (R)

  • by: Colorado Pols

As the Steamboat Pilot & Today reports:

State Sen. Al White, R-Hay­den, was the only Republican in either house of the state Legislature to support a transportation bill signed Monday that will generate $250 million a year for transportation projects through increased vehicle registration fees.

Senate Bill 108, dubbed FASTER, takes effect July 1 and will increase the average motorist’s annual registration fee by $32 in its first year. As a bridge safety fee is phased in throughout three years, the additional fee tops out at $41 in 2011-12 for most vehicles.

White has gotten some grief from fellow Republicans for his vote…

“I didn’t think in my district we could afford to stop snowplowing,” said White [Pols emphasis], who noted that he voted against the bill all the way up to its final approval hoping that changes would be made to it. “That was the only solution left on the table. … In the end, I took what was there because there was nothing left.”

White represents Senate District 8, which includes all or parts of Garfield, Eagle, Rio Blanco, Moffat, Routt and Jackson counties. Routt County Commissioner Diane Mitsch Bush, a Democrat who is vice chairwoman of CDOT’s Northwest Transportation Planning Region, applauded White’s decision Wednesday.

“I was very pleased to see that,” Mitsch Bush said. “He had promised us he would (vote for FASTER) because he understands the concerns, and he kept that promise.”

…White said the state can’t afford to be reactive to transportation needs because repairs become more expensive the longer they are neglected. White said the second issue is safety and that he would hate to see something like the August 2007 collapse of Minneapolis’ Interstate 35 bridge over the Mississippi River, which killed 13 people.

The words “we won’t forget this” have been leveled at Sen. White in the last few weeks as a naked threat from fellow Republicans like Minority Leader Josh Penry. For the majority of Coloradans, sick of pointless, hypocritical obstruction from a party seemingly determined to dodge responsibility at every step and undermine all solutions to the state’s pressing challenges, “we won’t forget this” is an affectionate promise.


31 thoughts on “Profiles In Courage: Sen. Al White (R)

    1. I bought a Land Rover becasues it was the safest vehicle for the wife to drive the kids around. First year’s license fees? $1142. Absolutely insane.

      I will NEVER buy another new vehicle in Colorado. You lovers of tax-increases don’t seem to realize the detrimental affects of all the taxes and fees on economic activity. Government bloat and overhead expense is the best way to convert a recession to a depression. Y=C+I+G+(X-M). Simple as that. More G equals less I and less C. Why do you think the equities markets have reacted so badly to the poorly-targeted stimulus and Obama budget?

      Al White sucks.  

      1. Do you think our roads just build themselves? If you want to be able to drive your car anywhere except up and down your driveway, you need to pay taxes to fund road construction & maintainence.

        As to the equities market being such a good indicator – they were climbing like crazy when all the bad loans were being repackaged and resold. I’d say their value as an indicator is piss-poor.

      2. consumer spending and investment started tanking before this spending bill passed. The increase in government spending is supposed to make up for the current fall in consumer spending and investment due to the collapse of the housing market that left massive numbers of people with negative equity.

        Good for Al White.

      3. If you want to pay less in taxes, then don’t by a Land Rover. It’s a heavier automobile, and therefore requires the purchaser to pay more in taxes and fees. There many highly safe sedans (volvo for instance) that would be less expensive. It also might depend on which county you live in as that’s how sales tax is determined. I imagine some of that number includes sales tax–which is much, much lower than other states thanks to our powerful automobile lobby. And I’m sorry to tell you this, but I’m pretty sure it was the same way when the Republicans controlled things too.

        Furthermore, FASTER hasn’t taken effect yet so your license fee wasn’t any higher than it normally would be, so using it as a way to attack FASTER is rather specious.

        Let me lay it down like this: I think $41 a year is a small price to pay for safer roads and bridges, and obviously you don’t. If you want to have a discussion about that, then that’s an ideological debate we can have, but don’t whine about how titling and licensing a new car is expensive. Pretty much everyone knows and expects that going into the car-buying process anyway–that’s one of the reasons so many people buy used cars if they’re really worried about $1100 versus $600 to the state.

        And really, blaming the Democrats? At least they have a plan. Remember Josh Penry’s plan? He wanted to reroute severance taxes from water projects into road-paving projects. That’s not conservatism, that’s lunacy. The Democrats have created an annual fund for roads and bridges that creates $250 million in funds. To me, that’s good government, I’m sure you disagree (again it’s probably an ideological divide that I would love to get into another time. It’s fun to get down to the nuts and bolts of political thought because I usually find we have more in common than we might think.)

        Al White saw a plan that made sense and signed on. If there had been a Republican plan that made sense, then I’m sure many Democrats would have signed on to that. The problem is all of the leadership and ideas on this issue are coming from the Democrats.

        1. $1142? Insane. The fees are already too high. Raising taxes and fees increases disincentive, although it is difficult to quantify because there are numerous variables in the consumer-decision process. In my case, I seriously will not buy another new vehicle in Colorado. I have had enough of fees. Furthermore, flaming environmetalist that I am, I don’t even like cars, their impact is too severe. I drive very little, and I wouldn’t have bought a new car at all, but I had nothing to transport twins. I’m a light rail fan. Say, how much new light rail are we getting for all that stimulus money? What is it, about $4T now? If our politicians don’t get us rail lines all over this state, they should be all be fired.

          And where in my original posting did I say anything about Democrats or Republicans??? I was talking about the effects of higher taxes and fees on economic activity illustrated using one personal experience. I am not the least bit interested in partisan BS. I am actually assisting a Democratic congressman in drafting a bill right now. There are good ones and bad ones in both parties; the bad ones are {opinion alert} the ones who grow government, raise taxes, and raise fees. And, speaking of Volvo, Sweden is seriously trying to cut government and cut tax rates in this environment. They tried it the other way, now they are wanting it our way. (see… or better yet You’ll thank me later……

          Government spending crowds out private spending. It is a tautological relationship and hardly qualifies as a bad interpretation of neoclassical economics. Anyway, in this environment, I am pro-Keynes actually. Keynes understood that government intrusions were abnormal, and that if government stimulus was employed, it should be well-targeted to the working class, who will spend it and create lasting economic impact.  Key points that Milton Friedman agreed on. The current government seems to be bastardizing Keynesian theory in order to increase their voter base. That benefits the few at the expense of the many. Ironic isn’t it?

          Of course equities markets are not always immediate  direct indicators of overall economic health but try running your public company without being able to raise capital. Equities values have a massive impact on consumer sentiment. Assessments of personal wealth affect numerous quantitative economic indicators.  

          I am unable to defend any of Josh Penry’s plans, I don’t know anything about him. What business was he in before he got into government? If he is another politician with no business experience (like the President who is raising taxes in a recession turning it into a depression) then I couldn’t care less what he thinks.

          Don’t increase costs to the consumer during an economic downturn. Period. It will increase the amplitude of the economic cycle.  

            1. It’s the total consumption that matters, not the type of vehicle, smartass. I have 20+ years in environmental programs, waste minimization, and process economics. You really want to debate me in those fields? What progress have you made cleaning up the environment and protecting workers and the environment?

              It’s pretty obvious which of you bloggers are interested in intelligent debate and which of you are schticking for the Democrats. Your credibility is gone with me redstateblues.  

  1. On a lot of other votes besides this one this session, too–nice to see him getting some credit. Too many more Republicans like him and people might start to rethink Republicans.

    Fortunately there are very few like Sen. White out there.

    Which reminds me, Pols, this makes two posts in a row praising Republicans today. Kindly cut that shit out, I’m sure Betsy Markey [JeffcoBlue emphasis] has done something good recently.

    1. when Democrats do what is natural in our character (good things); it is news when someone does something out of character (Republicans doing good things or a Democrat doing someting bad–like Rod Blagojevich or Roland Burris)….

            1. My point was that Boehner, if he is hoping to someday be speaker, might want to emulate Pelosi…she has been pretty successful.  (She also has mananged to avoid being a wimp and crying on camera…unlike Boehner).

              As to his being a drunk, intellectually challenged or anti-family, I don’t have enough evidence to make a case.  I will say that given that he’s only had one family and historically Republican Leaders in the House have been expected to burn through wives like it is a race, I suppose one could assume he is anti-family.

    2. He has always been one of my favorite Rs and it was a sincere pleasure to serve with him in the House for my 4 years. We both understood that it’s not about who’s right, it’s about what’s right. Stay true to your convictions Sen. White! The Ds won’t forget this either!  

      1.    I wonder why they did that.  If ever there was a chance that White would become  Colorado’s Jim Jeffords, the cross over would have been engineered through the D.L.C.

          And even if there’s no chance he’s going to leave the GOP, wouldn’t it give him some leverage in his caucus to be seen chatting with centrist Dems in public?

          And for the D.L.C. Dems, it would just be fun to mess with the minds of Renfroe, Schultheis, and Brophy by holding such a meeting!

  2. Notice how White doesn’t have any leadership positions in the Republican Party. Moderate Republicans, like Russell George and White, languish alone in the silent majority, waiting for the day when Rush Penry, er, Senator Penry, talks his way out of a job.  

  3. Al White is truly a quality guy…who speaks his mind, speaks the truth, and does what’s right.  If the R’s had more like him they might have a chance to get the majority back.

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