Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Gas Tax Insanity

It seems that the Utah Taxpayers association has gone insane. They've proposed a gas tax hike to help improve roads and public transportation in Utah. I'm all for better public transportation. Lord knows we need it. What I'm not in favor of is paying insanely high gas prices.

The proposed increase is 25 cents per gallon. If we add that to what I'm already paying for a gallon of gas in Tooele, I'd end up paying $3.40 a gallon for regular gasoline, and my car really should be given mid-grade or better.

It would also give Utah the highest gas prices in the nation. Sure, we'd be able to raise quite a bit of money, but it would also hurt tourism - something that also brings a large some of money into our state coffers. People aren't going to want to drive through Zion's Canyon or Bryce Canyon to see the sights if it's going to cost them an arm and a leg.

It will also hurt people who live in outlying areas (like myself) who commute into the larger cities for work. Sure, we chose to live where we do, but many of us (like myself) live where we do because it's where we could afford to live. Housing prices in Utah, let alone Salt Lake City, aren't exactly cheap.

In some cases, it may actually force people to quit there jobs. This will ultimately drain our total state tax dollars, not increase them, and it will do so on the backs of those who can least afford it.

1 comment:

Frannie said...

You raise some really good points, John. I'd always been a believer in gas taxes specifically earmarked for funding sustainable transportation and transit (but not necessarily fix roads). But generally the ones who suffer live far from their jobs because housing is less expensive farther away, like you pointed out.

Maybe there would be a few better ideas. Toll booths on highways, for one. 25 cents each way is affordable, and really adds up. Or only downtown or urban gas stations carry the gas tax, so it's people who drive within the city (rather than take transit) that pay extra. No different a concept than free parking at shopping centers outside the city, but paying street or lot parking in town.