Josh Goodman is a former staff writer for GOVERNING..E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
If Grover Norquist is liberal with one thing, it's press releases. If you ignore the ideological pronouncements, his tax-cut advocacy organization, Americans for Tax Reform, does yeoman work compiling state government news. Whenever a state adjusts a tax rate, Norquist tells you what he thinks about it.
Which raises the question: What will he say when Minnesota increases its gas tax to fund transportation infrastructure?
Norquist can hardly ignore the decision, especially because Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty is breaking his anti-tax pledge. Pawlenty already more or less broke the pledge in 2005, when he agreed to a tobacco "health impact fee" -- a cigarette tax increase. Nonetheless, he's still a favorite of fiscal conservatives. Norquist praised him in May for vetoing tax hikes.
Opposing the gas tax increase would square with Norquist's philosophy that government is too big regardless of how big government is. The danger for him is that, because of the Minnesota bridge collapse, criticizing Pawlenty would call into question the merits of that philosophy.
Written and compiled by staff writers and editors, GOVERNING View is an on-the-ground, and sometimes behind-the-scenes, look at the topics we're covering in print and online. From notes on what's up in statehouses, county courthouses and city halls, to encounters with people, places and things, GOVERNING View is a window into the side of state and local government you don't always see.