Pa. Governor Ushers In Highest Fuel Taxes

Tuesday, 03 Dec 2013 07:57 AM

By Chris Freind

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A big “thank you” to Pennsylvania’s Republican-controlled legislature!

By granting GOP Gov. Tom Corbett his most highly-sought prize — the nation’s highest gas and diesel taxes — it ensured he will likely achieve the impossible: a single-digit approval rating.

Though that’s not all that hard to do, since he’s already in the toilet at 17 percent.

About the only thing more monumental than the rear-ending Corbett just gave his citizens via the second-largest tax increase in state history is his “bipartisan” legacy, as no one has done more for the Democratic Party.

Under Corbett’s “leadership,” the GOP lost the attorney general’s office for the first time ever (his former position, where he botched the Jerry Sandusky investigation); lost 10 percent of their senators, saw the Democrats win the other two statewide offices; and Corbett’s hand-picked U.S. senate candidate (who supported Barack Obama) got crushed in last year’s primary, coming in an embarrassing third.

Now, Corbett’s insistence on the tax-laden transportation bill will quite possibly give the Democrats control of the Senate for the first time in decades and seriously erode the House’s sizable majority.

If that’s a victory, what’s a defeat?

The House and Senate are also responsible, of course, as they caved. But it’s Corbett on whose shoulders this disaster falls.

And not only will it be a disaster of epic proportions, chasing jobs and revenue away, but was wholly avoidable. Let’s review:

1. Corbett says his transportation law, where gasoline prices will rise over 28 cents per gallon and diesel will skyrocket, won’t violate his no-new-taxes pledge. And apparently the additional fees, as well as a six-fold increase in moving violation penalties, don’t count as “taxes” either.

He can play semantics, but a tax is a tax is a tax.

Corbett has already violated his pledge, but now expects us to believe that the mammoth price spike won’t be directly caused by the bill he pushed?

2. The tax increase was completely unnecessary. The think-tank Commonwealth Foundation spells it out: Pennsylvania spends $71,000 per road mile, 11th highest of any state; state highway spending exceeds $660 per person, more than 26 other states; and transportation spending has doubled over the last 17 years. That’s not too shabby.

Maybe if Corbett hadn’t bailed out a shipyard to build ships with no buyers, spent taxpayer money to build a baseball stadium for the Yankees’ AAA affiliate, wasted millions on legal fees to stop the NCAA sanctions against Penn State (which he favored before he was against them), and dished out huge consulting fees trying to outsource the lottery to a foreign firm, there would be enough money to go around.

3. Corbett says this will create jobs, yet always claimed that government doesn’t create jobs, only the private sector does. Just another example of Corbett’s say-one-thing-but-do-the-opposite existence.

Massive tax increases never create jobs. Since everything we buy gets delivered via truck, and trucks use lots of fuel, trucking companies will be shelling out substantially more. Some will go out of business, as many did when fuel spiked in 2008 (loss of jobs), and some will move to more tax-friendly states (loss of jobs). Business taxes will be passed to the consumer, and small businesses will be forced to raise prices and lay off employees (loss of jobs).

But since Corbett and many legislators have never worked in the private sector, met a payroll, or experienced the catastrophic results of a huge tax increase, what did we expect?

4. Millions will gas up in border states, depriving Pennsylvania of any revenue. But this is nothing new, as billions are lost as Pennsylvanians buy liquor elsewhere to avoid the 18 percent Johnstown Flood Tax (the tax to rebuild that city from the 1936 flood).

5. Another half-billion will go into that bottomless pit known as public transit, which again gets away with not having to operate like a business. And why should it? Bailouts never end.

6. More tax money will go toward the Pennsylvania Turnpike, despite five consecutive years of toll hikes, where tolls have risen a whopping 70 percent, yet more money is now thrown into that black hole.

No one ever votes on transportation funding at the ballot box. While people want bridges and roads repaired, support tanks when they realize gas taxes will go through the roof.

If the governor were a comedian, he would be a gas. But since we’re getting the “close your eyes” gas nozzle treatment, it’s no laughing matter.

But at least his single digit approval will be.

Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, Freindly Fire Zone Media. Read more reports from Chris Freind — Click Here Now.
 

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