Bob Corker Proposes Massive Hike in Gas Tax

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Debt, Taxes

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What better way to distinguish ourselves from Democrats than to propose a 12-cent increase in the dreaded federal gasoline tax at a time when gas prices are skyrocketing?

One of the reasons Republicans always lose policy fights is because their starting point in crafting solutions is born out of a Democrat premise.  One illustrative example of Republicans playing follow-the-leader with Democrats is on surface transportation policy.

In recent years, Democrats have bemoaned the “antiquated” and “crumbling” infrastructure as they promote more taxes and spending at a federal level to build roads and bridges – something everyone agrees is a vital function of government.

But which government or governments should be responsible for the lion’s share of surface transportation in the future?  Should we continue raising taxes and pumping hundreds of billions more into the failed federal sinkhole?  Or should we allow the 50 states to retain most of the authority over a function that is uniquely local in nature?

Evidently, Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) thinks we should double down on the latter.  He is proposing a 12-cent increase in the federal gas tax (it is currently 18.4 cents per gallon) in order to raise $164 billion over 10 years.  His plan, which is sponsored by Democrat Senator Chris Murphy, will undoubtedly lead to more waste.  And we all know that in 10 years from now they will be proposing yet another gas tax increase.

Adding insult to injury, Corker plans to offset the broad-based regressive tax hike with targeted tax breaks for corporations!

“One big GOP selling point was that the tax increase would not violate the Americans for Tax Reform pledge if it is paired with a provision making some popular tax breaks that are typically part of the tax extenders package permanent.

According to Corker, the list of tax breaks includes: research and development tax credit; Section 179 expensing, a tax break encouraging small businesses to by business equipment; the deduction of state and local sale taxes; the deduction of up to $250 in classroom expenses that teachers paid for out of their own pocket; a subsidy for mass transit and benefits given for land donated for conservation purposes.

“If you just took those, we do them each year, but you make them permanent; I don’t think there is anybody that disputes making those permanent, by the way, that alone would generate $189 billion in savings over the next 10 years,” Corker said. “So if the Finance Committee chose to link this … with that … you would not be violating the pledge.”

Wow – that is a winning message for a party that wants to appeal to the middle class.

Instead of agreeing to the Democrat premise, why don’t Republicans show the American people how the entire federal transportation system is broken and inefficient?  Why hit the American people with a massive tax increase when we can devolve transportation to the states?

Just another day in the minds of those who lead the Stupid Party.