Monday, January 5, 2009
Which Will Come First, Death or A Tax Increase?
Just when you think it can’t get worse, the federal government seems to find ways to make it worse for all of us!
A federal commission (appointed by Congress) is recommending a 50% increase in gasoline and diesel fuel taxes to finance highway construction and repair until the government devises another way for motorists to pay for using public roads.
The National Commission on Surface Transportation Infrastructure Financing, a 15-member panel created by Congress, is the second group in a year to call for higher fuel taxes.
Want to know why they are recommending this? Simple. You and I are responsible for it!
You see, we are driving less and buying less fuel these days! Correct me if I am wrong, but wasn’t that the solution that was offered to us to reduce our fuel consumption costs just a few months ago, when gas prices were $4+ a gallon?
But, with motorists driving less and buying less fuel, the current 18.4 cents a gallon gas tax and 24.4 cents a gallon diesel tax fail to raise enough to keep pace with the cost of road, bridge, and transit programs.
In a report expected in late January, members of the infrastructure financing commission say they will urge Congress to raise the gas tax by 10 cents a gallon and the diesel fuel tax by 12 to 15 cents a gallon. At the same time, the commission will recommend tying the fuel tax rates to inflation. The commission will also recommend that states raise their fuel taxes and make greater use of toll roads and fees for rush-hour driving.
“I’m not excited about a gas tax increase, but the reality is our current gas tax doesn’t pay for upkeep of the system we have now,” said Adrian Moore, vice president of the Reason Foundation, a libertarian think tank in Los Angeles, and a member of the highway revenue commission. “We can either let the roads go to hell or we can pay more.”
The dilemma for Congress is that highway and transit programs are dependent for revenue on fuel taxes that are not sustainable. Many Americans are driving less and switching to more fuel-efficient cars and trucks, and a shift to new fuels and technologies like plug-in hybrid electric cars will further erode gasoline sales.
Folks, I’m all for having good roads and when I go across a bridge, I want it to hold up under the weight of my car. But, give me a break! You and I already work from January–early May each year to pay all of the federal, state, local, and other taxes that we pay. Nearly five months of my annual salary goes to pay taxes. Five months! Count them, nearly five months.
Do you realize that the reason the American Revolution started was because the British government wanted to raise taxes on the colonists? They wanted citizens to pay taxes that would take from January 1 to about mid-January to cover! Did you get that? About 15 days—Not five months!
When will of the craziness stop? When will we as American citizens say “Enough is enough!” How much more can we take? With the economy like it is today and with projections that it will only get worse during 2009, can we tolerate another tax increase or surcharge like this?
I don’t know about you, but I’ll be communicating my thoughts to my Congressman.