Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Republicans for Tax Increases

From The Texas Tribune:
Bucking his party and the state’s leadership, state Sen. Kevin Eltife, R-Tyler, filed a bill Wednesday proposing a constitutional amendment to temporarily raise the state sales tax to pay off billions of dollars in bond debt accrued by the Texas Department of Transportation.

If Texas lawmakers and then voters approve Senate Joint Resolution 47, the state’s sales tax would rise from 6.25 percent to 6.75 percent until the state raises enough money to pay off TxDOT’s debt. The move would free up $1 billion a year — now used for debt service — that TxDOT could use to expand and maintain the state’s transportation system, according to Eltife’s office.
Just thinking off the top of my head, but why increase the sales tax to pay of TxDOT's debt?  How about increasing a tax that is more closely related to TxDOT and transportation?  Maybe something like...the gas tax.

In 2011, the Texas A&M Transportation Institute put out an informative brochure about the gas tax.  The first question that probably comes to mind is How Much Do I Pay?  From TTI:  
Our state gas tax is 20¢ per gallon. The average driver pays $9.52 a month in state fuel taxes. Of this, a nickel goes to public education. The monthly net to the highway fund is $7.14 a month. This assumes your vehicle gets 21 miles to the gallon and you drive 12,000 miles a year.  There is an additional 18.4¢ a gallon collected by the federal government.
If you want to temporarily increase the sales tax, why not temporarily increase the gas tax?  At the very least it would make sense and cents.  Raising a tax that's associated with transportation to pay of the transportation department's debt.  Of course, this being Texas, don't count on legislators doing something that makes sense...or cents.

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