Fuel-tax hike indexed to inflation the wrong idea to fund roads

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I read your article in the February issue of Overdrive with great interest; in fact I read it twice. I had to read it twice because I could not believe what I read the first time! Index the federal motor fuels tax to inflation. Really? I am assuming that your idea of indexing the tax to inflation means that when inflation goes down, the tax goes down as well? Once a tax is there; it’s there for good. The only reason that we have inflation in the first place is because government spends more money than government takes in.

Click through the image to read Max Heine’s Pulse column from February.Click through the image to read Max Heine’s Pulse column from February.

Indexing the tax to inflation is nothing more than allowing Congress to abdicate their responsibility to answer to the voters. It is the voters that should hold the purse strings of Congress, not the other way around. This same act that you trumpet was just voted down in Massachusetts just a few months ago. Even they saw this as just another way government will fleece the taxpayer.

Instead of having a self-rising, err… adjusting tax, maybe we should do the following:

1) Stop allowing our government to waste our money! I know that this seems like an impossible task; but we are the voters who put our representatives in office. Stop allowing them to give highway contracts to the friends and brothers-in-law of the people who sit on the boards that dish out the contracts. Hold them accountable for their actions. Along with that, maybe we could make the construction companies do the work for what they originally say it will cost. There should be no cost overruns, short of an act of god.

2) Use the money collected from highway taxes to go to the actual bridges and roadways! Now this is a novel idea. No more paying for bike paths, monorail systems, pedestrian walkways and trolley systems.  If the communities that will use and benefit from these systems want them, than THEY need to pay for them through bond initiatives or state funding.

I am sure there other worthy ideas but these are two anyway.

With fuel prices just coming down from a period of artificial highs, it would be nice to give the persons buying the gasoline and fuel a well needed infusion of cash.  God knows we need it!  Your idea will do none of that for the long term.

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