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After a brief hiatus, Top 3 Local, Federalism in Action’s weekly blog series, is back. As a reminder, here’s what it’s all about: every week, we’ll collect three of the nation’s top stories that spotlight local people, making local decisions. You might call it “federalism in action.”

Read on for this week’s Top 3 Local stories. And to catch up on last year’s reports, click here. If you have a story we should highlight in next week’s post, send the good news to FIA@StateBudgetSolutions.org.

FOR MOTIVATION: Don’t Let Them Raise Gas Taxes gas money

After so many years of pain at the pump, you’re doubtless enjoying the now-lower cost of gasoline. But hold on to your wallets: some politicos view this as the perfect moment to raise gas taxes,
hoping motorists either won’t notice or won’t mind. In the halls of Congress, they’re clamoring to raise the federal gas tax in order to refill the oft-raided, now-depleted Highway Trust Fund. While there’s admittedly plenty of infrastructure in need of repair, there’s no reason it has to be funded through a wasteful, lumbering federal bureaucracy. As Stephen Moore wrote in the Daily Signal this week: “Rather than raise the federal gas tax, a better policy would be to repeal the federal tax and let states pay for their own road projects.”

Devolving power to states, of course, is not a panacea. We’d still need to hold our state politicians’ feet to the fire. Here’s a case in point. Like their DC counterparts, some Idaho lawmakers are now looking to stealthily raise the state’s gas tax while prices are still fairly low. Our very own Joe Luppino-Esposito has rightly called this what it is: a “dirty trick.” As he told the Idaho Reporter, “If the revenue really is necessary, the argument to increase gas taxes should be justifiable no matter what the price is.”

FOR INSPIRATION: Another Common Core “Debacle”

Not long ago, state implementation of Common Core seemed like a fait accompli. Moneyed interests, combined with federal inducements in the form of grants and waivers, initially got 46 states to sign on. Since then, however, Common Core has come under fierce and relentless attack from a diverse coalition of educators, parents and activists of all political stripes. A number of states have already withdrawn, and it appears that Louisiana may soon join that list. The Hechinger Report has the full story here.

FOR FUN: Light of Day Winterfest

To raise awareness and funds for Parkinson’s disease research and treatment, the New Jersey-based Light of Day Foundation is currently hosting its annual Winterfest, which culminates on January 18th in Asbury Park. The festival grew from humble beginnings into what is now a 10-day extravaganza, featuring comedians and musical acts from around the country and even the world. No promises, but the Garden State’s Bruce Springsteen has “popped in” for 10 of the last 14 main events. To learn more, visit lightofday.org.

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