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Should the federal tax on gas be raised?

Updated on December 4, 2014

There is some talk about raising the federal gas tax to provide for more revenue to pay for the upkeep of our highway system including repairing or replacing bridges which have outlived their usefulness. Our infrastructure is in need of funds and many say that there is not enough money coming into the government to pay for all the costs to put our highways and bridges in a safe condition. Taxes are a big part of the cost we pay for each gallon of gas we purchase and raising the federal gas tax to what no one knows at this point how much it will be raises some concerns.

Each of us or at least most of us pay all kinds of taxes every day. Taxes are a part of the price we pay for gas and everything else but the timing of this suggestion leaves open some questions. If we drive or own a vehicle we must pay the taxes included in each gallon of gas. We have seen in recent weeks where the price of gas has dropped to levels unseen in years. This provides an economic boost to our economy. It seems that our elected officials or at least some of them are bent on costing us the taxpayers more when we see a reduction in price. While the price of gas has gone down the government receives the same amount of tax revenue from each sale of gas. In fact with it costing less the potential exists and some believe it has occurred that more gas is being purchased providing more revenue to the government.

In the past when gas prices were high we as individuals only purchase what we need to go to work. As we pay less we have more money to provide for the necessities of our families and the reduction in price gives us some breathing room. This breathing room will once again will be gone if the federal gas tax goes up. The price of gas has gone down through I believe a result of us accessing the reserves we have in many areas of our country. In addition if the price of gas goes back up we will again be at a point where the price affects our economies through the prices we pay for everything including gas.

I am all for providing funds to fix our infrastructure as many highways and especially bridges and overpasses are in a desperate need of repair and/or replacement. In some cases it has become an unsafe condition with examples of bridges collapsing as reported in several instances by the media. The problem I have with giving government more money is the mismanagement of the tax dollars it now receives. Before a decision is made on a federal tax hike for a gallon of gas a review should take place of the money now being received through the current tax rate and where the money has been allocated. The question to be answered is whether the critical structures are being funded or whether other structures are receiving funds which do not pose a threat to the safety of citizens who use them.

The culture of Congress today for at least some elected officials is they want to show they are bringing money back to their state. This is not a bad thing but officials should be thinking about the country as a whole not their individual state. Granted there are needs across the country but those needs and the money to address them should be evaluated on their merit not attached to spending legislation which has no relationship to the topic being proposed. This is part of what needs to change in Congress. It is hoped that with the influx of newly elected officials along with some who were re-elected that this activity will be impacted.


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