Republicans consider the unthinkable: A gas tax increase to pay for infrastructure

Source: Washington Examiner | February 12, 2018 | Josh Siegel

Republicans are weighing whether to raise the federal gas tax. It’s an idea they are prone to hate, but they may need it to pay for President Trump’s infrastructure investment plan.

Supporters of the idea note that the tax hasn’t been raised since 1993 and have plenty of evidence that resistance to a hike is wearing down.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce recently called for the Trump administration and Congress to raise the gas tax by 25 cents per gallon to help pay for an infrastructure package, projecting it would generate more than $375 billion over a decade. For 25 years, the federal tax on gasoline has held steady at 18.4 cents per gallon and 24.4 cents per gallon for diesel. It is not indexed to inflation.

The Republican chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Rep. Bill Shuster of Pennsylvania, prodded colleagues at the recent GOP retreat to consider setting aside years of opposition and raise the tax.

And perhaps most revealing, some of the most conservative House members who heard Shuster’s pitch are open to it.

That includes Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., an independent-minded conservative who drives an electric-powered Tesla, detests government waste, and is always liable to surprise.

“The gas tax is a pact with the public, if spent properly, that says when you buy gasoline, we charge you money and spend all of it on the roads and bridges you are driving,” Massie, a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, told the Washington Examiner. “It’s more palatable to constituents. People are upset about the wasteful government spending they see in Washington, D.C. But generally, they are not upset about money spent on infrastructure. So, you have to consider those two things differently.”

But Massie and others acknowledge the risk for Republicans that comes with voting for a tax increase, especially after the party recently enacted legislation that reduces taxes for businesses and individuals.

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  • Discussion
  •  EVERYDAY #21588

    Where did they get the idea that everyone wants this gas tax? I sure don’t. I live in PA and we have the highest state gas tax in the nation. We don’t need or want a raise in the federal gas tax.

    If they want to ‘improve the infrastructure,” how about all of these lazy crooks give up their salaries for a year, get rid of at least half of the departments, agencies and bureaus in DC, and cut spending on entitlements for lazy lumps who refuse to support themselves? There are plenty of cuts that can be made — some of which were promised to the voters in 2016. What happened to those cuts? These cuts can pay for roads, bridges and whatever else needs to be repaired or built.

    By the way, did anyone ever find out what happened to the billions in infrastructure spending during Obama’s reign? Did that money go down the rabbit hole? Will this expenditure contemplated by the latest spending spree legislation disappear too?

    I’ve had enough of these chiselers from both parties constantly trying to rob us. If they want to spend taxpayer money, let them come up with the money through cuts and their own personal sacrifices and stop trying to hitting up the middle and working class for money to squander.

     ConservativeGranny #21589

    What the government gives with one hand it takes away with the other. Some people are all excited about the extra few bucks on their checks. You try to explain to them that this is a common ploy before an election and that the government will get the money back and then some from them in other ways. But they look at you like you are crazy. And don’t even bother trying to explain the increase in the deficit and borrowing. You get a blank stare. Here is one example of where that extra few bucks will end up going.

     Woodcutter #21602

    Read my lips …

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