Monday, November 10, 2008

Lansing insiders want to raise the gas tax.

The lastest studies by the political class concluded one obvious solution that comes to them. Taxes! More of them. My least favorite tax. The gas tax. With gas prices STILL high, and likely to go back to their rates three months ago with Washington DC unlikely to allow more exploration of supplies, along with increased industrialization of India and China, the last thing we need is another artificial price increase thank to Washington or Lansing.

The worst tax in the country is the gas tax. I blame the gas prices as one of the major contributors to the economic collapse. People did not budget for $4.00+ gas. People always must pay the gas taxes or they miss work. This raises the costs for shipping and of every single product on the market, especially food costs. It devastates the Big 3. People lose jobs, are foreclosed, etc.

I will seriously consider a primary challenge against anyone from our county who votes for this tax if they are not term limited out. I would run on this issue, number one.

The lefties at AP had this out titled 'Mich. gas tax, registration fees may have to rise'. First off, have to rise? Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Jennifer Granholm and lawmakers should consider eliminating Michigan's 19-cents-a-gallon gasoline tax and replacing it with a tax on the wholesale price of gas, according to a report being released Monday.

Swapping the taxes would let revenues rise or fall with changing fuel prices rather than tying gas revenues to consumption, which is falling as motorists drive more fuel-efficient cars or cut back on buying gas to cope with prices that at one point topped $4 per gallon.

The change could boost transportation funding in the long run and might ensure that a bigger share of taxes paid at the pump actually go toward Michigan's deteriorating roads, advocates say.

The recommendation is one of many listed in a Transportation Funding Task Force report set for release Monday. The Associated Press got an advance copy of the 85-page report.

"We may need to shift away from a 19th- or 20th-century tax on motor fuels," said Rich Studley, task force co-chairman and head of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce. He warned that the current system is becoming "obsolete."

Rich Studley is a good guy, but one siginificant power at the state chamber is the roadbuilders who have been pushing this for a long long time. That's not a slam, but a fact.

The 13-member task force was created by a state law asking for recommendations to improve roads, bridges, airports and public transportation and come up with new ways to pay for them.

The panel, which includes four legislators — two Democrats and two Republicans — decided to pass up delivering a preliminary report due Oct. 31 and release the final report months ahead of schedule.

The report says Michigan must double its transportation spending and warns that one or two incremental fee increases won't be enough to meet the need.

States have been struggling to find ways to raise enough money to fix crumbling roads and bridges and fund airports and public transportation. Gasoline sales nationally are down, so state and federal gasoline taxes are drawing in less money. Michigan continues to get back less in federal transportation dollars than it sends to Washington.

Matt Helms of the Free Press has this

Among the options:

• Increasing vehicle registration fees. Task force member Mike Nystrom of the Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association said his group would favor a progressive increase that would be higher for more expensive vehicles.

• Changing the state's gas tax from a per-gallon rate to a percentage rate, similar to the sales tax, helping stabilize gas tax revenues. Nystrom said one idea to offset the impact to drivers would be to lower the percentage when gas prices are high.

• Looking at public-private partnerships that could include leasing roads to for-profit companies that could build toll lanes, or public-private collaborations on light-rail systems.

• Raising the diesel tax to 19 cents per gallon from 15 cents, to make it equal to the state gas tax.

As far as I'm concerned, registration fees are another tax. As far as "expensive" vehicles, does that go for the original price or the current value? My truck was probably about $28,000 when the original owner bought it. I paid about $11,000 3-4 years ago. Used. Will I be paying a tax on a $28,000 truck, $11,000 truck, or about $6000 or so it would be worth today. Heads up.

As far as toll roads go, I'm not adverse to them - as long as they are NEW roads, and not on existing roads. Same goes with HOV lanes.

The biggest problem is this false premise that all state road money did, does, and always will only come from the gas tax. That idea needs to be squashed and we all need to send that message to our reps now and hope that once again, Lansing doesn't bend us all over during the lame duck session with term limited reps which got us all those fee increases in 2004. As Kevin Bacon's famous Animal House Quote goes - "Thank you sir may I have another!" Time to call Chris, Joe, and Valde and tell them no tax increases. With gas at about $2.00, now is the time the tax hikers are going to strike. They will not do this when it goes back to $4.00 - and it will likely do so next summer.

Now one of the few things I think that government should spend money on is infastructure. Michigan has one of the highest gas taxes in the country. It's not 19 cents like the media says. It's 19 cents, and then another 6% of the entire cost. So if the raw price of gas is $1.62.6, add 18.4 cents for the federal tax. $1.81 add 19 Cents for the state tax. That makes it $2.00 Now add the 6% sales tax. 12 more cents. $2.12. Right now if gas is $2.12 per gallon, 50 cents of that is going to the gas tax. Almost 25% of all costs. If the raw price was $3.62, the main taxes increase it to $4.00 Add .24 cents per gallon in sales tax. Now taxes are 62 cents per gallon going to the government. The diesel tax recommendation is as bad if not worse. Pay more in shipping costs if this happens.

One recommendation I have is this - all money from the sales tax for gasoline is earmarked for roads and not the general fund. That can be paid for by eliminating needless government pork, like MSU trustee Joel Ferguson's State Police building, Dan Mulhern's paid staff and figurehead position, cutting these trips for government officials, and taking a scalpal to the budget. Another idea I have is consolidating townships and eliminating duplication. If you want to talk about "moving to the 21st century" there's a start. Back in 1837, it would probably take me all day to get from Green Oak to Lansing by horse. Now I can do it in about an hour by truck.

This false premise on the gas tax being the only way to fund roads needs to get sent to Hell.

3 comments: said...

Andy Dillon TOLD us he was going to do this MONTHS ago.

We sounded the alarm but folks put the same wolves back in the same hen house.

Grab your wallets.


keithr said...

I agree right up to where you talk about consolidating townships. Townships are the most frugal, responsive, and efficient form of government we have in Michigan.

Dan, you are talking theory, but we have real world experience which shows that bigger governments are almost always more expensive and inefficient.

To give you an example, here in my township we have our own police department. We always have a couple of cars driving around and it is likely that at any time there is a car within 5 minutes of my house. Compare that to any large city, where it often takes hours to get a police car.

We also have an excellent fire department and many other services, yet we enjoy one of the lowest tax rates in Michigan.

If you really think bigger government is better, go live in Detroit for a while, but please leave my local government alone.

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