Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Gas tax shenanigans

So, Sonny Perdue is freezing the gas tax. And the hopeless state Democrats agree with him.
"We're glad the governor has agreed with us and decided to suspend the gas tax increase, which Democrats called for in the middle of May," Rep. Rob Teilhet (D-Smyrna) said in a release.
That's just great. I'm glad that the state Dems learned absolutely nothing from when a similar thing happened nationally - Hillary Clinton and John McCain suggested suspending the gas tax, while Barack Obama rightfully called it bullshit despite the seeming popularity of the proposal. Everyone was surprised when voters sided with Obama - Clinton got the brunt of the negatives for appearing as a panderer, and Obama's poll numbers climbed.

Now, Perdue is freezing the gas tax so that it won't increase, per a new law passed in 2004, which Perdue presumably signed since he was governor. What was the point of passing the law?? While I'm pretty liberal, I am also generally a believer in free markets - and consumers have shown a remarkable ability to alter their behavior due to gas prices. Transit ridership is breaking records nationally, people are driving less, and buying less gas (from the gas tax article):
Through the first 10 months of the fiscal year, which started July 1, drivers had bought 132 million fewer gallons of fuel than in the same period the year before, a decline of 2.4 percent, according to the state Department of Revenue. Figures for May should be coming out in the next few weeks.
People are proving that they will take transit. And many are finding that they enjoy it more than driving. I think that the market has spoken, in favor of transit. But Perdue and the Georgia legislature are content to prop up a failing system by trying to keep gas prices low. Why don't we get on board with a regional transit tax, expand MARTA service (more frequent service, more rail lines), and finally do something about commuter and high speed rail?

And can we finally retire the canard that because transit doesn't pay for itself it should be abandoned? It's not like any other form of transit pays for itself:
The airline industry will lose $2.3 billion this year because of oil price increases...

1 comment:

  1. unfortunately, much of the state's population will succumb to this pandering.

    while it is a necessary evolution, many people in metro atlanta want to avoid public transit at all costs. these tax shenanigans only prolongs the madness. perhaps if rail options are expanded and improved (long overdue), the stigma will vanish.

    lack of decent public transportation...one of the many reason why your comments about the city still having a long way to go resonate so depressingly...

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