Chris Chocola: Gas Tax Hike Pours Money Down a Black Hole

Thursday, 19 Jun 2014 02:34 PM

By Melissa Clyne

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The proposed bipartisan effort to raise the federal gas tax by 12 cents per gallon equates to nothing more than a $164 billion tax increase on the American people that perpetuates a broken system, according to the conservative Club for Growth President Chris Chocola, who addressed the subject on Newsmax TV’s "America’s Forum" program.

"The reason that the Highway Trust Fund runs out of money is because it's based on an old model that doesn't work anymore," he explained. "So I don't think that we should pour money down a black hole by raising taxes on the American people. They say they pay for it with fictional tax cuts elsewhere, but we ought to figure out a way to reform it."

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The U.S. Department of Transportation has predicted that the federal Highway Trust Fund, which pays for highway and transit projects, will encounter a shortfall before the end of the fiscal year.

Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut and Sen. Bob Corker, a Tennessee Republican, want to raise federal gasoline and diesel taxes for the first time since 1993.

Their proposal would increase the 18.4 cents-a-gallon federal gas tax and 24.4 cents-a-gallon diesel tax each by 12 cents over the next two years and then call for the index to keep pace with inflation.

Chocola says Congress need to engage in fundamental tax reform while also figuring out how to fund future infrastructure needs. He suggests allowing letting states decide what kind of infrastructure investments they want to make.

"Let the states decide how they want to pay for it with the state residents that are there," Chocola said.

The Murphy-Corker proposal is very anti-growth and "a regressive tax increase," according to Chocola, who criticized the United States for failing to capitalize on the "unlimited energy opportunities" to retrieve gas and oil here at home.

"We don't have to be reliant on what's going on in the Middle East nearly to the extent we are now in the sensitivities to the energy crisis," he explained.

"So this is a piece of the puzzle of the opportunities we have that we are missing and for two senators to say we want to perpetuate this problem by budgetary charades is really just kind of all you need to know about Washington."

Chocola doesn’t think the Murphy-Corker proposal will get much traction since raising the gas tax is a highly unpopular move and not likely to take place with midterm elections around the corner.

"But the bigger problem is it's just indicative of the thought process in Washington," he said.

"They come up with ways to really engage in budgetary gimmickry to perpetuate a broken system and then say, we're doing the people's business. Good for us."

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