Campaign for Liberty has joined a coalition of over 50 organizations in a letter to Congress opposing an increase in the federal gas tax. Despite the clear anti-tax message sent by the voters last November, some Republicans are actually considering raising gas taxes. According to The Hill:
Record-low gas prices across the U.S. have given rise to fresh talk in Washington of raising the federal gas tax for the first time in over 20 years, with leading Republicans now saying a hike must not be ruled out. The GOP has long resisted calls from business leaders and others to boost the 18.4 cent-per-gallon tax as a way to pay for upgrades to the nation’s crumbling roads and bridges. Yet in recent days, senior Senate Republicans have said they want to keep options open and that "nothing is off the table" when weighing the best mechanisms to pay to finance infrastructure projects. "I just think that option is there, it's clearly one of the options," said Sen. Inhofe (R-Okla.), new chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), the third-ranking Senate Republican, also said they were open to the possibility of raising the tax. Democratic leaders in both chambers of Congress, meanwhile, declared this week that “now is the time” for an increase. While major obstacles stand in the way — namely the House of Representatives —business groups believe there is a real chance to raise the tax in the final two years of the Obama administration. “Comments this week from Sens. Inhofe, Hatch and Thune signal a growing recognition that the gas tax is a fair and consistent way to fund our infrastructure needs,” Association of Equipment Manufacturers spokesman Michael O’Brien said in an interview on Thursday.
Note that those hoping to raise the gas tax are pointing to the decline of gas prices to justify raising gas taxes. So when gas prices increase, will they support cutting the gas tax?
Campaign for Liberty opposes any and all legislation that raises taxes on the American people. Text of coalition letter against the gas tax below and here:
Dear Members of the 114th Congress,
On behalf of our organizations and the millions of Americans we represent across all 50 states, I write to express our strong opposition to legislation that includes an increase to the federal gas tax.
Not only is increasing the gas tax an ineffective way to address the nation’s transportation infrastructure needs, it would further increase the burden of government on families and business – and would disproportionately hurt lower income Americans already hurt by trying times in our economy.
A higher gas tax means higher prices not just on gas, but on goods and services throughout the economy. These increased costs would inevitably be passed down to consumers, resulting in a regressive tax hike on middle- and lower-income Americans.
Millions of people struggling through stagnant wages and increased cost of living have been given some relief with falling gas prices. These lower prices amount to nearly $100 extra per month for an average family, which is expected to lead to an additional $100 billion of economic growth. Congress should embrace these lower prices, not confiscate the savings, increase costs, and weaken growth potential.
Moreover, a gas tax increase would exacerbate existing problems with the current transportation infrastructure funding formula. Despite billions in Highway Trust Fund (HTF) shortfalls, Washington continues to spend federal dollars on projects that have nothing to do with roads like bike paths and transit as well as completely unrelated projects like museums and squirrel sanctuaries. Over one-third of HTF spending today is for non-highway purposes.
In addition, Davis-Bacon wage rules and other burdensome regulations needlessly add time and cost to transportation infrastructure projects.
As with so many other issues in Washington, transportation infrastructure has a spending problem, not a revenue problem. Rather than asking Americans for even more of their hard-earned paycheck to fund reckless Washington spending, Congress should seek an alternate solution that properly prioritizes federal transportation infrastructure needs, reduces costly and time-consuming bureaucratic hurdles, and further empowers state and local governments in conjunction with the private sector. In doing so, Congress can create a system that is efficient and responsive, and ensures that the United States has the best and safest transportation network in the world.