Tags: Congress | gas tax | fuel | Orrin Hatch

Record-Low Fuel Prices Spark Talk of Hiking Gas Tax

By    |   Tuesday, 13 Jan 2015 03:24 PM

For months Americans have enjoyed having a few extra dollars in their pockets as a result of record-low gas prices, but consumers may have to again pay more at the pump if Congress succeeds in raising the gas tax.

As prices have fallen, the momentum for hiking the federal gas tax has picked up steam and even Republican support.

"Yes, we have proposed raising the gasoline tax user fee, but also by offsetting other taxes that Americans would pay so it's revenue neutral, but at least it would put our infrastructure on strong footing. That second component seems to get left out of the conversation most of the time," said Tennessee Republican Bob Corker recently on "Fox News Sunday."

Republican Sens. Orrin Hatch of Utah and John Thune of South Dakota, and Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma all have expressed openness to the idea, reports The Hill.

The willingness to talk in the new Congress about potentially raising the tax on gasoline has conservatives outraged.

Some Republicans are content to be the new party of Tax and Spend, and are playing the same Washington games as the Democrats. Sen. Jim Inhofe refuses to rule out punishing the American taxpayer with yet another new gas tax increase just as Americans are finally getting some relief from crippling gas prices. But now he, like Harry Reid before him, is playing word games," said Brent Bozell, chairman of For America, in a press release.

Bozell added that less than a month after assuming control of the Senate, Republicans are "playing those wordsmith games too" and should be ashamed of themselves.

The federal tax, which is currently 18.4 cents a gallon and has not been raised since 1993, finances the Highway Trust Fund, which pays for federal road and transportation projects.

However, the Fund is running short by approximately $170 billion, according to The Fiscal Times.

The shortfall is currently being made up by a $11 billion stopgap measure passed by Congress but that expires May.

One of the concerns raised about simply hiking the gas tax to sustain the Highway Trust Fund is that it is an effective program.

"Federal involvement raises the cost of projects, and encourages new projects rather than maintenance of existing infrastructure. And funding projects with user fees is politically tricky, making shortfalls more likely, even for projects with merit," notes Peter Suderman of Reason Magazine.

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For months Americans have enjoyed having a few extra dollars in their pockets as a result of record-low gas prices, but consumers may have to again pay more at the pump if Congress succeeds in raising the gas tax.
Congress, gas tax, fuel, Orrin Hatch
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2015-24-13
Tuesday, 13 Jan 2015 03:24 PM
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