Saturday, January 10, 2015

Hurry! Raise the Gas Tax!

                                                               

As the price of oil has dropped more than half this past year it's time to finally consider raising the federal gas taxes.  Look, I hate taxes as much as anyone, but consider this; it has been nearly three decades since federal gas taxes were raised.  And we know the current $18.4 cents per gallon is not hacking it.  Remember the gas tax is what funds our infrastructure improvements, making bridges safe, repair our highways, etc.  The last time I looked road and bridge improvements were underfunded to the tune of a trillion dollars.  

So, we've got a tough choice to make; raise gas taxes or continue to see bridges crumble and gas eating traffic delays and severed tie rods from roads badly in need of repair.  And now, when gas prices are on a downswing, is the perfect time to do it.  The reason Congress has not acted to increase gas taxes in so long is because of the steady increase in the cost of gas through the years.  So, I think Congress should bite the bullet, show a little courage and double the federal gas taxes.  

Let's face it America; every time gas prices plunge you're going to have the same old players go out and buy themselves a nice gas guzzler.  Happens every time gas prices begin to get reasonable.  Well, it's time to get serious and quit providing incentives for these gas hogs.   And whether you agree with Global Warming or not, it's always good to have a little less pollution, with fewer miles driven when driving is not necessary, but seemingly encouraged the minute Americans consider gas cheap enough to waste.

Oil market gurus are predicting relatively low gas prices throughout 2015.  Indeed, even with increased gas taxes, we may see further declines in the overall price of gas.  And to enjoy affordable gas while at the same time fixing our crumbling roads and bridges is a good thing.

As to how those gas taxes are managed and spent, I would love to see the gas tax revenue handled by the individual states; it takes just a small bit of the politics out of the equation, and the lower management level you can achieve, the less chance for waste, fraud and abuse.  But that's probably not going to happen so we have to make do with what we can achieve.

And my final argument for the gas tax is this:  While I don't like taxes, if I'm going to be taxed I want it to be a consumption type tax.  How many of you have been in the checkout line at the grocery store and seen some yahoo pull out his food stamps and not been a bit resentful, knowing you paid for that food and knowing there are gamers galore who shouldn't be getting them....just as you resent people who shouldn't be on welfare, or drawing $2500 dollars a month Section 8 housing vouchers.  Well, when you impose a sales tax on a product or service even the cheaters are paying their fair share.

So, rather than funding infrastructure from the general fund, as Congress has been doing, let's put the onus on funding our transportation requirements on the folks who are most using the service.  Let's raise the gas tax and fully fund our infrastructure requirements.

That's my 18.4 cents for today.  Happy motoring!

15 comments:

Jerry Carlin said...

We are getting gentler in our old age!
Yes, of course, that is the simple choice: rebuild our infrastructure or let the bridges fall down. Should have happened a long time ago, not just roads and bridges but also water systems and electrical lines and Internet. I doubt this will happen for 2 more years as the Republicans haven't been interested in anything good happening under Obama's watch.

A Modest Scribler said...

Jerry, I don't have the same opinions about Republican intransigence as you of course (let's remember the Dems had control and did nothing either), but we agree on the overall goal...let's fix the problem and let's give the bill to the folks actually using those roads...and not under budget from the general fund.

Jerry Carlin said...

Yes, as Rome burns our politicians are fiddling!

Jerry Carlin said...

OK, I have had my shower (actually a bath in a hundred year old 6' claw foot tub!) and I was thinking about run down neighborhoods, paint peeling, roofs collapsing, street gangs proliferating, lawlessness and crime prevailing: total loss of Pride. THAT is what is happening to our Nation as a whole! The issue is Not just about 18 cents; it is about a total loss of pride. Our infrastructure is so Far Behind that of Europe, most of China and even South Korea! and really, truly, we don't give a crap! If we had pride, a sense of "Our Nation" this should be a no brainer and win 100% of the votes! It is Not about money. Can you imagine what this upcoming U of O and Ohio football game will bring in?
A general admission ticket in a bad sitting area cost $450 and cannot be purchased unless you are a supporter of the athletic department, meaning you have donated at least $4,500 over the past season! That is just One example, there are lots of them.
We all live in a falling apart neighborhood and we don't care. We have no pride.

A Modest Scribler said...

Okay, Jerry, the first thing I have to ask: did you have your toke while soaking? Cause if you're suggesting we need to funnel untold trillion to big government to "make everything nice", then I don't agree.

We "made nice" for millions of urban Blacks and they trashed and burned them and converted them to drug infested ghettos. No the answer to our "ugly" problem has to come from the bottom up...we have to starve these welfare bastards, these lazy unproductive ilk and let them die or grow up and fend for themselves. With that comes self pride and only then will things "get nice". I don't give a shit what OU and UO make in that football game; that's their money, not mine..and certainly not to be confiscated by Daddy government and shelled out to the undeserving. Now go drink coffee and sober up.

Frank said...

I have to agree with you on the tax. Been thinking about that for some time. But, we know what Government does with "extra money"(Social Security, anyone?). It rarely goes to it intended purpose. Somehow, it HAS to be used for infrastructure and only infrastructure. But then a whole new can of worms opens up. Who, what, when, where. We know our Officials don't play fair and can agree on just about nothing. Plus they'll all be thinking about how they can get a piece of the pie for themselves. That $.186 we just doubled is down to about $.5 in no time. Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves. That's our Boys(Girls) in Government.

A Modest Scribler said...

Yeah, I share your cynicism, Frank...but we're already spending money for infrastructure...the only difference is that they budget it out of the general fund because politically it's not popular to raise gas taxes. So raising the tax puts the costs on those directly using our roads.

Yeah, there will always be waste. But there's waste already...let's just send the bill where it belongs.

rimfire said...

Do you really believe in your heart of hearts, that ANY increase in the gas tax, would go towards fixing our failing infrastructure? That was what the $.05 road tax back in the 80's was supposed to do, fix our roads. The ONLY thing I see increased taxes being used for is buying votes. I agree that a consumption tax would be the fairest way to collect revenue. EVERYONE would get to help, but until the problem is fixed, NO MORE TAXES.

I'm sorry Jerry, you're going to have to pay to paint your house yourself.

A Modest Scribler said...

rimfire; read my blog again. Congress can take the money out of the general fund, like they are doing now, or they can take it out of gas taxes. Your choice.

Brian Clancy said...

While I agree our infrastructure needs attention, I don't feel the government has shown itself to be responsible with my money. I believe there already are funds sufficient they're just not being allocated correctly. I can't support any new tax when I see how the bureaucrats waste the ones already in place.

TheRandyGuy said...

Frank addressed it, I'll sum it up: I don't trust the government to do ANYTHING is says it will. Pols have squandered the SS fund and the gas tax for decades on pet projects they weren't supposed to. Now, the "infrastructure is failing" and "SS is underfunded". True enough, but why should we believe the government will use additional revenue for the purpose they tell us it will be used for? Socialist POS Bernie Sanders has long been a proponent of extending the SS taxes beyond the income limit $117,000, and increasing it to every income level, telling us "SS won't be solvent forever and we have to act to protect this vital program" . In the same breath, Sanders says that using the extra income for other purposes is A-OK because "the trust fund will be solvent for several decades from now". I'm not kidding. Government is inherently dishonest and does not deserve even a modicum of trust. Allowing states to administer additional funds is a good idea - WON'T HAPPEN because above all, DC wants the control over the $. Get used to buying suspension components for your cars.

A Modest Scribler said...

Brian, Randy, I see your points, both of you. And then I ask again; do you want highway money to come out of the general fund, as it is now, or would you like to see the gamers and welfare pukes to have a little skin in the game. Your choice.

Brian Kalifornia said...

I agree with Brian and Frank. The guvment fellows haven't shown they can be responsible with our hard earned money. I agree with you Scrib about weening the welfare abusers off and the need to fix the infrastructure. But I'll be damned if I would agree to anymore taxes on gas. We pay about .65 a gallon here in California. How about the politicians prioritize and reallocate to fix the infrastructure. But monkeys will fly out of my ass when that happens.

A Modest Scribler said...

In the immortal words of Slick Willie Clinton, Brian: I feel your pain...saw where California has passed legislation that might take a gallon of gas there up an additional .76 cents per gallon. Sad.

Trevor M-K said...

What about toll revenue? The bridge to get into NYC is ~$14 a day! I know the Port Authority aka legal organized crime syndicate needs their cut, but where is the rest going.

To break it down, I pay about $20+ a week on tolls. Factor a few million NJ residents doing that and more and you have your infrastructure fund. It's not a revenue problem, it's how they spend it.