It’s not enough that Republican lawmakers Vicki Truitt of Southlake and John Carona of Dallas want to hike gasoline taxes and vehicle fees. Now the Obama Administration’s token Republican, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, wants the federal gasoline tax raised, too. Ready to pay up?

Texans currently pay 18.4 cents per gallon in federal gas taxes and 20 cents per gallon in state gas taxes. State Sen. Carona and State Rep. Truitt wanted you to pay an additional 10 cents in state taxes, putting the total tax burden at almost 50 cents a gallon. How much higher LaHood wants the gas tax to rise is unknown.

LaHood said in Fort Worth he wanted higher federal gasoline taxes because they just have much more to spend things on, and so we need more taxes to keep up with the cost increases of road construction.

He was in Dallas later promoting the federal government paying for a city park. He also took time to push for federal spending (from gas taxes, no doubt) on streetcars.

Hey, Secretary LaHood, maybe if the feds weren’t paying for city parks and streetcars there’d be more money for roads?

Don’t be fooled by the misinformation from the gas-tax crowd. There is a lot more money being generated in federal and state gasoline taxes than ever before. The problem is that at both levels they are spending those dollars on things that have nothing to do with roads.

That’s kind of what U.S. Congressman Michael Burgess said, according to the Star-Telegram. “We earmark money for transit. We earmark money for shrubs in the median.” Burgess opposes the gas-tax-hike scheme.

Pay careful attention to what big-spending “Republicans” like LaHood, Truitt and Carona want, in the words of the Fort Worth Star Telegram reporter: “indexing the gas tax so it increases gradually”.

In other words, tax increases set on auto-pilot. Ever big-spoenders dream. That way there is no check-and-balance, no review, just more money flowing unaccountably into a bureaucracy to pay-off friends. No concern for economic situations, effectiveness, justification or impact. Just more money, every year.

If tax rates are to be increased, they should be done so purposefully, and with a specific vote by the legislative body each time it goes up. That’s called sunlight, transparency. And we need more, not less, of it in public policy.

Michael Quinn Sullivan

Michael Quinn Sullivan is the publisher of Texas Scorecard. He is a native Texan, a graduate of Texas A&M, and Eagle Scout. Previously, he has worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine contributor, Capitol Hill staffer, think tank vice president. Michael and his wife have three adult children, and a dog. Check out his podcast, Reflections on Life and Liberty.

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