Ramblings of Silver Blue

25 Aug

Why you need to think…

….before you tax.

As I’ve ranted about numerous times in my blog, there are those in Hampton Roads and in Virginia (as well as other states) that think revenue shortfalls should be regained by increasing the gasoline tax. The monies would then, possibly, go into new road construction.

It’s flawed thinking, and here’s why:

(1) Raising the gasoline tax 5 cents, which was in line with what most were talking about earlier this year, would not create the “boon” of $240 million a year, as gas prices are not sitting at the $1.359 a gallon they were earlier this year. On my way in to work today, I saw most gas stations in the $1.61 area, with some places having premium at $1.879. Increase the tax and what happens? Less gas is purchased, more tourists stay home and vacation closer to their homes, and the economy suffers.

(2) When the Virginia Lottery first was instituted, all the proceeds were to go to public education in Virginia. They did, until times got tough. Then the state dipped into the revenues created by the Lottery. Was that money replaced for the education budget? Of course not. From FY89-FY00, the monies funneled into the State General Fund (FY89 was State Capital Construction). The lottery, since 1989, has had 4.5 BILLION in proceeds, not counting what has been paid out. Of that 4.5 billion, only 375 million has gone to public education.*

How can we ensure that the gasoline tax won’t be funneled off for use on something other than roads?

(3) Thinking that you will use tolls in addition to gasoline tax to improve roads will only increase traffic problems. Especially since Hampton Roads does not plan on any upgrades before tolls will go into place.

(4) Look at the Coliseum Central I-64 fiasco. It is running at least a year behind schedule, millions of dollars over budget, and VDOT knew of the problems 8 months ago. They didn’t do anything to correct the situation. The Magruder overpass still is sitting idle, not being worked on.

Before you go to raising taxes, you need to look at what the economy and people will take. Granted, we’re not at the $2.129 a gallon they are in Phoenix, but we’re not too far from it. Talk about driving the money out of the state.

I look at it one additional way: Talk about gouging the military, who have no option.

* Information from www.valottery.com, the Virginia Lottery’s home page

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