Higher Gas Taxes on the Horizon?by Tim Manni
Within the past month talks have intensified over the possibility of rising gas taxes. So far, the thrust of conversation continues to come from op-eds, blogs, and media outlets rather than from the Senate floor. Senator Jeff Bingaman says discussion involving increasing gas taxes are “off the table” because the politics surrounding gas prices are “problematic:”
The problem, as Jimmy Carter can attest, is that higher gas taxes are political poison. That’s why they get a lot more traction on op-ed pages than the floor of Congress.
Yet, not every politician shares Bingaman’s viewpoint. Both last Monday and today, Kate Galbraith of the New York Times has listed several states whose government leaders have proposed gas tax hikes. In Massachusetts the speaker of the house proposed an idea to raise the state’s gas tax to help pay for the Big Dig — the governor has suggested raising tolls instead.
Vermont’s treasurer proposed raising the state’s gas tax by five cents for “infrastructure repairs” — an idea their governor has opposed. Oregon’s governor has urged a tax hike of two cents per gallon. New Hampshire and Utah have begun to consider gas tax increases as a financial supplement to their state’s income. (You can find your state’s gas tax here.)
Currently the Federal gas tax stands at 18.4 cents; the average state gas tax is 30 cents. While there has been no real discussion in Washington regarding a hike, we wouldn’t rule it out.