Lawmakers Seek Higher Gas Taxes to Fund Pet Projects

We might be paying a lot at the gas pump, but some state lawmakers think we’re not paying enough. Maryland is one state that is considering raising the state gas tax as well as imposing a sales tax on gas, adding up to 10 cents more per gallon. Governor Malloy said that they’ve had to deal with a flat tax ever since 1992, and because of inflation, that flat tax just doesn’t cover what it used to.

They’re probably raising more taxes to fund mass transit projects. And they want everyone to be paying their “fair share” to contribute to public transportation.

But why should people who drive cars have to pay for those who take the bus or train? According to Susan Krebs, a Republican state delegate in Maryland, over 80% of commuters use roads to get to work, and only 8% take mass transit. So there shouldn’t be so much emphasis on government-subsidized transportation:

 “Krebs believes there’s another way to get people out of gridlock: by making sure fees like car registrations are spent on transportation, not something else, and a redirection of money away from mass transit and into roads and bridges.”

 Other states like Washington are proposing similar taxes in order to raise money for transportation projects. It’s funny, because usually when people, families or organizations seek to “raise money” for something, there’s some kind of service that is given in exchange for the money. Like a car wash or a garage sale. When politicians want to raise money for their pet projects, they just think of another thing to tax. Like bikes. The Seattle Times reported:

 “The proposal would increase the state gas tax by 10 cents over five years, eventually reaching a total of 47.5 cents per gallon. Washington currently has the nation’s ninth-highest gas tax. In addition, it would create a car-tab tax equal to 0.7 percent of a vehicle’s value — $140 for a $20,000 car. There’s even a $25 sales fee on bicycles worth $500 or more that would raise $1 million over 10 years, a nod to motorists who complain that bicyclists don’t pay their fair share.”

 They’ve got to get those cyclists to pay their fair share because it’s not fair that they don’t have to pay for the roads that they ride on. Actually, some of the taxes that cyclists already pay are supposed to go toward roads and highways. Gas taxes aren’t the only thing that pays for roads. If politicians choose to raid the funds that are meant for roads and highways and spend it on something else, that is not drivers’ and cyclists’ fault. There’s plenty to go around, but instead of lawmakers’ living within their means, they think of other things they want to build, which means they have to raise taxes.

What if someone didn’t own a car because he couldn’t afford the gas and maintenance and chose to walk everywhere instead? Would they decide to tax his shoes so that he’s contributing a “fair amount” to road construction and upkeep? Would that tax money really be going to help upkeep the roads or would it go to build rail systems or something even completely unrelated to transportation? It doesn’t seem to matter how many taxes they impose on Americans. They’ll always find excuses to raid tax money and then have to levy more taxes to pay for whatever pet project they want to pursue.