Raising the Gas Tax?

Today, the National Commission on Surface Transportation Infrastructure Financing suggested to Congress to raise our taxes on gas and diesel by roughly 50%.  Currently, we pay about 18 cents a gallon on gasoline and 25 cents a gallon for diesel.  Read about it here.

According to the commission, the current taxes leave a shortfall of about $100 billion a year, which means road and bridge projects can’t get funded.

My main problem is that this panel was created by Congress.  They are not an independent party to analyze the entire infrastructure system and budget.  The easy way out is to just raise taxes.  What they really need to do is look at all the bureaucracy that exists and look at how much they can save if they streamlined their operations.  Nothing in this article suggests the government faced such an audit.

Also, I have a big problem with the taxes I pay going to Washington for them to dole out.  How do I know that my taxes will help build or repair roads in my neighborhood?  My money might go to build a bridge in Alaska or some high-ranking Senator’s home state.  This is one of the main reasons for the American Revolution and our Constitution in the first place.  They were fed up paying taxes to the British government, and then never seeing any returns on those dollars.

They should lower, or even abolish, the Federal tax and replace it with State or local ones.  That way, we would all see returns for our tax dollars.  If we did this, we would probably see lower taxes because there would be more efficient use of the dollars, resulting in less of a need for the tax.

The Federal government does fund some of the major Interstate highways, so they could either give the power to the states or they could use a portion of the tax dollars the states or local governments receive.

The entire system is backwards right now, where our money goes into a black hole, and we have no idea if we will ever see it.  We need to start at the local level, not at the Federal level.

Also, we should not be fooled into thinking this is for environmental reasons.  They say in the article that they need to “sell” it to us.  If they really had the environment in mind, they need to explore different fuel sources, electric cars and plug-in hybrids.  Raising the tax on gas does nothing to promote alternative forms of transportation.  Taxes to deter the use of something rarely work, if ever.

And finally, check out this paragraph from the article:

According to a draft of the financing commission’s recommendations, the nation needs to move to a new system that taxes motorists according to how much they use roads. While details have not been worked out, such a system would mean equipping every car and truck with a device that uses global positioning satellites and transponders to record how many miles the vehicle has been driven, and perhaps the type of roads and time of day.

Are you kidding me?  Talk about Big Brother!  The government has no right to monitor where or when you are driving.  Why is that their business?  Rather than tracking your every move, they should just set up toll booths on certain roads.  I know that their ideas are well meaning, but the last thing we need is the government monitoring our every move.

We need less Federal intervention in our road and infrastructure system, in order to really fix and address the problem.  The more power that is handed to local, state, or even private companies the better.  We have no way to hold Washington accountable for how they spend our tax dollars.  Locally, we can see the results of our taxes and can hold our politicians and policy makers accountable.

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