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Gas tax issue could be the next political fight
The Hill ^ | August 9, 2011 | Keith Laing & Bernie Becker

Posted on 08/09/2011 6:54:48 PM PDT by jazusamo

After watching a two-week shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration, transportation advocates and congressional staffers are concerned that the federal gas tax could become the next confrontational issue that Democrats and Republicans push to the brink.

The Senate and House are in the process of considering a long-term highway bill. Passing a short-term extension while they work out the details of a longer measure would normally be considered routine, but so was a short-term extension of FAA funding.

That all changed July 23, when 4,000 FAA workers were furloughed for nearly two weeks as the House and Senate could not agree on a bill to extend the agency’s funding through Congress’s traditional August recess.

The recent fracas over raising the debt ceiling also underscored the degree of partisan gridlock and brinksmanship in Washington.

With the chambers far apart on their proposals for a long-term highway bill, and transportation advocates in Washington still reeling from the FAA fight, at least one Democratic aide in the Senate expressed concern that congressional Republicans would attempt to use the gas tax as leverage in the fight over the competing transportation proposals.

“There’s widespread support to maintain the current rate, and there has never been serious objection in the past,” the aide said. “But with [Rep. John] Mica’s [R-Fla.] recent actions on the FAA bill, who knows whether House Republicans will once again compromise jobs and the economy to make a political point?”

Mica is chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

The bill that authorizes the gas tax to be collected, the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) bill, is currently on its seventh short-term extension, which expires Sept. 30.

Extending the FAA authorization in increments became so routine that the agency reached 20 short-term extensions, before the recent standoff and subsequent shutdown.

Some in the GOP, however, were skeptical that the gas tax would be at the center of a September showdown over the transportation bill.

“It’s hard to speculate what will emerge as the big issue this fall,” a Republican aide said. “Anything is possible, but I’d be surprised if it turned out to be the gas tax.”

Environmental groups said Tuesday they were bracing for the worst, just in case.

“The debt-ceiling debate looms large here,” Deron Lovaas, federal transportation policy director at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said. “Anything involving taxation or spending could become an issue. I think everyone is watching [anti-tax activist Grover] Norquist and his group like hawks to see what they do next.”

Chris Prandoni of Americans for Tax Reform, a group founded by Norquist, said his group believes states should eventually be in charge of gas taxes and take care of their own roads, but he added that he did not think the votes were there to allow the federal gas tax to expire at September’s end, and that rolling it back so quickly might be disruptive.

Instead, ATR is backing Mica’s bill. ATR believes that bill — like the recent deal to raise the debt limit — would get the ball rolling toward its eventual goal of reducing the scope of the federal government.

“We view the September 30 deadline as a chance to start a sort of education campaign,” Prandoni said. “Mica’s bill ensures that the [Highway Trust Fund] stays solvent, and gives us the amount of time we need to transition this to the states.”

Mica has proposed a six-year, $230 billion highway bill. He has pegged his proposal to the amount he says the gas tax currently brings into the trust fund.

The competing measure is sponsored by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. The Democratic proposal is a two-year, $109 billion bill.

The Laborers’ International Union of North America has promised a vigorous campaign during the congressional recess to build support for Boxer’s bill.

“In the debt-ceiling debate and in the [FAA] shutdown, some Republicans have shown they’re willing to put politics ahead of our economy and the livelihoods of working men and women,” union President Terry O’Sullivan said recently. “We will not let the highway bill be the next victim of that strategy. We need to show that America faces its challenges and doesn’t run away from them.”

Some transportation advocates have begun looking for alternative funding sources to increase transportation spending. A few have even called for increasing the gas tax, which is very unlikely in the current Washington environment.

The gas tax is currently 18.4 cents per gallon, not including the additional local and state fees that vary across the country.

Jack Basso, chief operating officer of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, said a halt in the collection of the gas tax would make the $30 million per day in sales taxes the FAA shutdown cost the federal government “look small.”

The gas tax “brings in $100 million a day, so that’s a lot of money if this thing goes away,” he said.

Basso said the FAA shutdown made highway proponents “sit up and take notice” of the possibility there might be a fight to renew the gas tax, but he thought ultimately it would get done.

“I think we’ve got the word out that this does expire, and it needs to be addressed,” he said. “I’m of the mind that it will be addressed.”


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: barbaraboxer; boxer; fedgastax; gastax; liuna; mica; norquist; safetealu; taxes; transportation; unions
Mica's bill calls for $38 Billion a year for 6 years.

Boxer's bill calls for $55 Billion a year for 2 years.

Guess who's backing Boxer in this? UNIONS!

The Laborers’ International Union of North America has promised a vigorous campaign during the congressional recess to build support for Boxer’s bill.

1 posted on 08/09/2011 6:54:53 PM PDT by jazusamo
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To: jazusamo
Damn! Aren't they even going to look at waste?

There are going to be a lot of angry voters if they don't first clean house. People who are clueless now will pay attention when they feel the painful bite of new gasoline taxes.

You can expect the States to follow with their own gas tax.

After all we “pay less in gas taxes than Europe.” That’ll be the mantra. And they'll talk about improvements and repairs to the roads and bridges and how we need more public transportation and how people should be “encouraged” to use it. And on and on.

Also, will they continue to use the revenues on the roads or will it be put into the general fund? Lemme guess....

2 posted on 08/09/2011 7:10:14 PM PDT by dhs12345
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To: dhs12345
Yes, the gas tax thing is going to come up big time, both fed and state.

Cars are getting better mileage. People are driving less miles because of the economy. Electrics, although a minuscule number of cars on the road now are just starting to sell.

The Boxer proposal is only for two years and the Dems are counting on that tax being raised when the bill runs out. Mica's bill is based on the current fed gas tax.

When Pols in Washington see that kind of money in a fund you and I know they'll come up with other priorities for it.

3 posted on 08/09/2011 7:23:53 PM PDT by jazusamo (His [Obama's] political base---the young, the left and the thoughtless: Thomas Sowell)
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To: jazusamo

Please bump the Freepathon or click above and donate or become a monthly donor!

4 posted on 08/09/2011 7:25:00 PM PDT by jazusamo (His [Obama's] political base---the young, the left and the thoughtless: Thomas Sowell)
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To: jazusamo

Good point.

I have seen this a dozen times... consumers consume less which leaves them in a revenue bind. The solution isn’t to cut costs. No. Raising taxes is the only option to them.


5 posted on 08/09/2011 7:33:08 PM PDT by dhs12345
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To: jazusamo

I hate to break the news to all you people out there, but this bickering on the gas tax will be child’s play compared to what’s around the corner as we get to the edge of the cliff regarding the dollar. One of two things HAS to happen:

1) The dollar dives and gas goes to about $9.00 per gallon.

2) The dollar doesn’t dive and gas goes to about $7.00 per gallon.

The first one is obvious, as once gas is priced Yawns, or some other currency, we will have to keep paying more for it. The second one is what MUST be done to prevent a collapse of the dollar - which is tax the crap out of the Middle Class ($4.00 per gallon on gas, maybe 12% for a VAT). That is the only way that we will have a chance at paying for the welfare programs that Americans DEMAND (and yes, FReepers too, particularly with regard to Social Security).


6 posted on 08/09/2011 7:59:16 PM PDT by BobL (PLEASE READ: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2657811/posts)
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To: BobL

Doubtful.


7 posted on 08/09/2011 8:27:33 PM PDT by unixfox (Abolish Slavery, Repeal The 16th Amendment!)
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To: dhs12345
Aren't they even going to look at waste?

Liberals are all talk and no action on this one. The answer is a resounding "No" to your question.

8 posted on 08/09/2011 8:30:13 PM PDT by mlocher (Is it time to cash in before I am taxed out?)
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To: BobL
1) The dollar dives and gas goes to about $9.00 per gallon.

The dollar would have to be cut to a value of a third of what it is today. At the current rate, that will take 20 to 30 years.

2) The dollar doesn’t dive and gas goes to about $7.00 per gallon.

I disagree with your assessment that the only solution to save the dollar is to tax the "crap" out of the middle class. However, liberals will do anything to get their filthy hands on our money, and to them their is nothing sacred about gasoline.

Unfortunately, this action will not save the dollar. Stopping their tax and spend ways will.

9 posted on 08/09/2011 8:35:08 PM PDT by mlocher (Is it time to cash in before I am taxed out?)
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To: mlocher

“The dollar would have to be cut to a value of a third of what it is today. At the current rate, that will take 20 to 30 years. “

LOL. The current rate goes out the door once confidence is lost...which it basically is now. Just look at the price of gold for the past two years, and you’ll see what people REALLY think of the dollar. As to oil, it’s low now due to slow economic activity...once the rest of the world picks up, we’re toast.

“I disagree with your assessment that the only solution to save the dollar is to tax the “crap” out of the middle class. However, liberals will do anything to get their filthy hands on our money, and to them their is nothing sacred about gasoline.

Unfortunately, this action will not save the dollar. Stopping their tax and spend ways will.”

I agree with you...but even half the oldies on this site DEMAND their Social Security money back. They really seem to believe that it’s locked up in Al Gore’s house or something. If these people, who are otherwise ideal conservatives, can’t get past this, we really have no choice but to follow the European path and tax the crap out of the middle class....or watch the dollar crash.


10 posted on 08/09/2011 8:40:10 PM PDT by BobL (PLEASE READ: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2657811/posts)
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To: unixfox

“Doubtful.”

Go check our debt, our deficit numbers, and our projected deficits for the next decade. Anyone still willing to give us credit after looking at those numbers is INSANE, and the Chinese are NOT insane.

...so it does have to happen...we MUST crash (or tax the crap out of the middle class). There is no third way.


11 posted on 08/09/2011 8:42:35 PM PDT by BobL (PLEASE READ: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2657811/posts)
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To: BobL
All I can say is, good luck collecting all those taxes. People will eventually stop paying into their ponzi scheme, that is if they want to survive.

It's way past time for a MAJOR tax revolt in this country anyway. Problem is, how long will we sit idly by while they strip us of EVERYTHING we earn AND own?

12 posted on 08/09/2011 8:45:18 PM PDT by unixfox (Abolish Slavery, Repeal The 16th Amendment!)
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To: unixfox

“All I can say is, good luck collecting all those taxes. People will eventually stop paying into their ponzi scheme, that is if they want to survive.

It’s way past time for a MAJOR tax revolt in this country anyway. Problem is, how long will we sit idly by while they strip us of EVERYTHING we earn AND own? “

That’s why gas taxes are so effective...the ‘people’ don’t pay them, rather the small number of oil companies pay them. The ‘people’ don’t have a say.

As far as taxes overall...if people still want a welfare state when they turn 62, they WILL have to pay for it. It’s not free and the Chinese are sick of giving us a free ride.


13 posted on 08/09/2011 8:58:25 PM PDT by BobL (PLEASE READ: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2657811/posts)
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To: BobL
1) The dollar dives and gas goes to about $9.00 per gallon.

The dollar would have to be cut to a value of a third of what it is today. At the current rate, that will take 20 to 30 years.

2) The dollar doesn’t dive and gas goes to about $7.00 per gallon.

I disagree with your assessment that the only solution to save the dollar is to tax the "crap" out of the middle class. However, liberals will do anything to get their filthy hands on our money, and to them their is nothing sacred about gasoline.

Unfortunately, this action will not save the dollar. Stopping their tax and spend ways will.

14 posted on 08/09/2011 9:09:16 PM PDT by mlocher (Is it time to cash in before I am taxed out?)
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To: BobL
LOL.

Use 10 year periods, not 10 month periods. And yes, there have been volitale times just like we have today during the last 10 years.

15 posted on 08/09/2011 9:09:21 PM PDT by mlocher (Is it time to cash in before I am taxed out?)
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To: mlocher

“Use 10 year periods, not 10 month periods. And yes, there have been volitale times just like we have today during the last 10 years.”

Name me a time, other than the past two years (and WW2), when deficit spending equaled 40% of government spending. In fact, name me a time when it equaled even 20%.

You seem to fall into the trap that all the economists fell into with the housing bubble - that being that there could NEVER be a collapse in housing prices (nationwide) since there has NEVER been a collapse. Same trap in 1990 when we were CONVINCED that Iraq would NEVER invade Kuwait...why? because they never HAD invaded Kuwait.

You have to look stop looking at the past and add up the numbers. We’re talking trillion dollar plus deficits forever, along with hundreds of trillions in unfunded obligations (i.e., SS and Medicare)...that CANNOT be maintained and we will and MUST collapse.

There really isn’t any other end-game...just like there wasn’t when housing started pushing 10 times average income.


16 posted on 08/09/2011 9:19:47 PM PDT by BobL (PLEASE READ: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2657811/posts)
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To: mlocher

Anyway, feel free to ignore me. But PLEASE do not whine here when you see your retirement WIPED OUT because you chose not to listen to your fellow FReepers, because you thought they were kooks.


17 posted on 08/09/2011 9:22:25 PM PDT by BobL (PLEASE READ: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2657811/posts)
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To: BobL
You have to look stop looking at the past and add up the numbers. We’re talking trillion dollar plus deficits forever, along with hundreds of trillions in unfunded obligations (i.e., SS and Medicare)...that CANNOT be maintained and we will and MUST collapse

You are pretty much down on America. I am merely down on DC. The idiots in DC will be replaced next year. America, being the best job creators in the world, will pull through once the shackles are taken off our economy. Collapse is not inevitable.

But thanks for explaining yourself. At least I know where you are coming from.

18 posted on 08/09/2011 9:24:02 PM PDT by mlocher (Is it time to cash in before I am taxed out?)
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To: BobL
Anyway, feel free to ignore me. But PLEASE do not whine here when you see your retirement WIPED OUT because you chose not to listen to your fellow FReepers, because you thought they were kooks.

You seem a bit quick on the draw tonight, not waiting for my response. Patience is a virtue.

No, I don't think my fellow FReepers are kooks, nor do I think you are a kook. However, now that you have explained where you are coming from, your extrapolation of the data is simply a bit off.

19 posted on 08/09/2011 9:26:31 PM PDT by mlocher (Is it time to cash in before I am taxed out?)
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To: mlocher

“America, being the best job creators in the world, will pull through once the shackles are taken off our economy. Collapse is not inevitable.”

I love your confidence...but I don’t think we’re invincible anymore than the entire country thought so after Pearl Harbor. If we are to win, we WILL have to FIGHT HARD and defeat an embedded enemy. I went to collage with them, sat in their “teach-ins”...I know EXACTLY how they think and I can tell you that 98% of real Americans are simply unable to even comprehend what they want (you included) and just where they intend to take this country. They want a LOT MORE than nationalized medicine or expensive energy, they want us to be TAUGHT A LESSON and live like the peoples we exploited. And they have no intention of stopping, even after they’ve brought our economy to its knees.

Can they be defeated - yes. But it starts with people like you getting rid of the America-the-Invincible mindset, and getting ready for a VERY DIRTY fight on the streets. That is our only hope...these people will NEVER go away, they must be DEFEATED.


20 posted on 08/09/2011 9:34:07 PM PDT by BobL (PLEASE READ: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2657811/posts)
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To: BobL
Can they be defeated - yes. But it starts with people like you getting rid of the America-the-Invincible mindset, and getting ready for a VERY DIRTY fight on the streets. That is our only hope...these people will NEVER go away, they must be DEFEATED.

You have explained yourself and repeated yourself. I have likewise explained myself.

Now I shall ignore you. Perhaps we will find common ground on a differing thread as we have done in the past.

21 posted on 08/09/2011 9:41:49 PM PDT by mlocher (Is it time to cash in before I am taxed out?)
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To: mlocher

“No, I don’t think my fellow FReepers are kooks, nor do I think you are a kook. However, now that you have explained where you are coming from, your extrapolation of the data is simply a bit off.”

I have a VERY NICE car that I bought new because I shorted Countrywide in 2006...even though everyone else said they were fine. This stuff is not hard to figure out. If you borrow too much, way too much, people will stop giving you credit and the whole thing MUST collapse.

In the case of world trade, that means that China will, sooner than later, stop giving us their finished goods, FOR FREE (yea, we say we’ll pay them with IOUs - yuck, yuck, yuck). They’re not stupid and they’re probably just a few months from telling us “CASH ONLY” for now on. And once they do that...welcome to Third Worldville. I guess you’ll just have to learn what that means the hard way. But since you are being civil with me, I will do the same. I advise you (as I’ve advised everyone out here) to STOCK UP, and buy 4+ years of goods...everything you can think of that’s non-perishable (food is another story that I won’t get into here). As you’ll soon see, there will be HUGE shortages of everything we take for granted.

Of course you can ignore me...but life will suck when you have to spend hours in line for items that I have years worth of in my attic (like soap, toilet paper, motor oil, bug spray, plastic bags...).

Best of luck.


22 posted on 08/09/2011 9:43:16 PM PDT by BobL (PLEASE READ: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2657811/posts)
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To: mlocher

“Now I shall ignore you. Perhaps we will find common ground on a differing thread as we have done in the past. “

Sounds good...best of luck out there.


23 posted on 08/09/2011 9:46:22 PM PDT by BobL (PLEASE READ: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2657811/posts)
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To: mlocher

We need to make this clear... no new taxes. Clean house first!


24 posted on 08/10/2011 4:26:31 PM PDT by dhs12345
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