Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Time to press for a higher gasoline tax

    OK, the property tax hike to pay for road and bridge repairs has failed in spite of strenuous efforts by our elected officials to push it through.
    So, why did it fail? Perhaps it’s the fact that property owners are fed up with being the golden goose or milk cow (take your pick) source for golden eggs or whole milk to cover developing and/or improving schools, roads and other local services. Or is it that non-property-owning voters, even though outnumbering the propertied ones, are finally questioning the fairness of the system.
    The fact that the Idaho Legislature stubbornly refuses to raise gasoline taxes from those of 20 years ago should not dampen our desire to petition for this long-overdue source of increased funding for roads and bridges. Our combined state and federal taxes currently run 12 percent of the cost of gasoline—a higher percentage than 20 years ago to be sure but auto miles-per-gallon has likely increased by 60 percent in that same period. Informed sources indicate that the Legislature is doing a spot-on imitation of a flock of chickens, afraid to vote in a gas tax increase that may cost them a vote here or there. Tough luck—that’s the price you pay to be a salon, sometimes unloved in your own home town because you voted your conscience. Or does salon conscience strike anyone else as an oxymoron?
Gary Hoffman


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