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Infrastructure Plan: Buttigieg defends tax hikes, non-transport proposals

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Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on Thursday defended criticism that the Biden administration’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan contains items Republicans argue are unrelated to infrastructure.

In an MSNBC interview, anchor Stephanie Ruhle brought up Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) having said the plan “appears to use ‘infrastructure’ as a Trojan horse for the largest set of tax hikes in a generation,” which McConnell argued would “kill jobs and hold down wages at the worst possible time”.

“It’s not Trojan, it’s American,” Buttigieg quipped. “And it’s not a horse, it’s a highway system, and railways, and airports, ports, and a lot of other things that Americans need.”

The former South Bend, Indiana mayor went on to argue that upping the corporate tax rate to “pay their fair share” is necessary for funding the infrastructure proposals, also saying that “business thrives in countries that take care of their infrastructure.”

Buttigieg had previously floated a “mileage tax” to bankroll an earlier version of the infrastructure plan, but scrapped it following much outcry.

RELATED: Taxes Anyone? Buttigieg weighs ‘mileage tax’ to pay for $3 trillion infrastructure bill

Ruhle later pointed out to the transportation secretary that there is a lot in the plan that Americans “absolutely need” but “wouldn’t be considered traditional infrastructure,” adding that the plan proposes a lot more than just roads and railways.

Buttigieg responded by arguing that railways in the 1860s and an interstate highway system in the 1950s weren’t considered “traditional infrastructure,” saying that both are at the core of the United States’ present-day infrastructure.

Some controversial parts of the plan include funds for electric vehicle development, care for elderly and disabled Americans, and building and retrofitting affordable housing, among other proposals.

Nonetheless, Buttigieg also said during the interview that he’s “not gonna give up on earning Republican support” for the plan.

Watch the full MSNBC interview here.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @DouglasPBraff.

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Economy

Massachusetts Democrat Mayor wants to end ‘right-to-shelter’ law amidst migrant crisis

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More Democrat leaders from non-border states are wising up to the immigration crisis our nation faces. Woburn mayor Scott Galvin, of the progressive state of Massachusetts, is hoping that lawmakers will overturn a 40-year-old law because the reality of being “bleeding heart liberals” is resulting in the demise of his town.

The 40-year-old “right-to-shelter” law has got to go, says mayor Galvin, because of the immense strain the thousands of migrant families are putting on the area’s residents. By Friday, there were about 150 families living in the city’s hotels, an “unsustainable” arrangement for his 40,000 constituents.

Galvin told the New York Times the right-to-shelter law, which only exists in Massachusetts, was “passed at a different time, and was not meant to cover what we’re seeing now.”

National Review reports:

Under the 1983 right-to-shelter law, Massachusetts officials are legally required to offer housing to any homeless families seeking shelter in the state. The law now covers a rising influx of migrant families, although individuals are not covered under its provisions.

“We’re going above and beyond, while some communities around us are not being impacted, and we don’t have endless capacity in our schools,” said Galvin. “The benefits that are bestowed on migrants make the state a very attractive destination, and without some changes, this challenge is not going to abate.”

Massachusetts Democrat Governor Maura Healey already declared a state of emergency on August 8th, requesting help from the federal government. On August 31, Healey activated up to 250 Massachusetts National Guard members to assist the more than 6,000 migrant families already in the state’s shelter system.

Approximately 6,300 families are living in emergency shelters and hotels across the state, up roughly 50 percent from the year prior. The cost for such accommodations for all the migrants is approximately $45 million per month, National Review reports.

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