Tuesday, February 26, 2008

MN Gas Tax Increase

Marty Seifert is a jackass for complaining about this.

Minnesota will increase the gas tax by 8.5 cents until current bonds are paid for, then drop back to 5 cents after that. After the bridge collapse last year--Yes, Repubs, it was a "design flaw," but one that could have been caught with better maintenance procedures--and having driven on all the crappy roads in a state that has harsh winters that tend to wreck pavement pretty quickly, I'd be willing to pay 20 bucks a month to make sure that things are safer and better maintained. I don't feel that that would be undue stress.

How much will the increase actually cost me? Well, I get 30 miles to the gallon on my car and I drive about 12000 miles per year. Crunching those numbers, it'll cost me...34 dollars.

If I were getting 20 miles/gallon, it'd cost me 51. Wow. What a huge tax increase. Anyone who complains about this is an idiot. Deciding not to go out to a nice dinner one time per year will relieve you of the undue stress of this massive increase. Or, perhaps, spending one week on vacation out of state, so that you won't have to buy any gas. Don't complain about 51 dollars for safer, better roads.


Aljavar said...

Apparently, Rhode Island has a LUST tax. I'm opposed to a gas tax increase but I'm TOTALLY in favor of a LUST tax. You'd be an idiot not to!

On a more serious note. Let's not assume the direct taxes are the only consequence. Anyone who drives all day, has goods delivered to their place of work a lot or huffs gas for a living will be hurt more than most. And any of us that buy stuff from those people will prolly end up paying more if they raise their prices.

Perhaps, all said and done, it costs the average family $100/year. I can swing it, sure. Don't mind paying more for nice roads in such a whore-weathered state. But I wouldn't call someone who can't an 'idiot' for opposing it.

I don't you're saying it should pass just because it's relatively cheap, 'cause then we should just tax everything a little bit and no one would notice or mind and we'd just have taxes on absolutely everything. Well, wait a second.....

archduke f. f. said...

You're right, of course, about the marginal cost being more than the direct cost when it comes to this tax. All told, though, it will not be a significant increase.

And you're right that I got a little overexcited. I've just been frustrated with people who complain about the first gas tax increase in 20 years. If it were indexed for inflation and then we got an increase above that, I can see people having a reason to complain. I would personally rather have a tax increase than go into a deficit that has to be repaid with interest, but I can see why someone would have a reason to gripe.

The tax revenue is constitutionally mandated to go to roads that are in dire need of repair. If the money were sucked into the general fund, I could understand people getting angry, but this money is ONLY for transportation. In addition, while the legislature controls the purse strings, Pawlenty's executive office is actually the one to dole out the money, so the "fiscally responsible governor" (read: no tax increase pledge, yet charges new "fees" and raids MinnesotaCare, which was set up as a trust) is the one, through his proxies, who will decide where the money can be best used.

Anti-Everything said...

I whole heartedly support the new gas tax, but for different reasons than one might assume, and I for one wish it would go further.

Yeah I like nice roads and what not but why I really support it is because it is a start to getting people to realize the true cost of our transit system. Our current transit system is one of the largest perverse subsidies that government provides. Now a perverse subsidy is one that does both environmental and economical harm, therefore not providing a negative net result.

I would make the argument that this tax needs to go much further, but I am realistic enough to understand that green taxes will only work on a national level. Our current economic system rewards those who can decrease their personal costs at the expense of increasing societal externality costs. If we are ever going to achieve an economy that enhances our standard of living, provides economic growth, and does so through sustainable means we are going to have to implement taxes that causes people and business to experience the actual costs of their activities. And by doing so we will fuel industrial innovation and creativity, because nothing makes people and companies more creative than when they are trying to figure out ways to save money.

Next step…I say a congestion tax in downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul (well maybe just Minneapolis since St. Paul is a ghost town after 6 pm). Another option could be to simply institute a congestion tax in St. Paul during the Republican convention, you know their good for it.

xtrachromosomeconservative said...

I understand Aljavar's basic point about how the gas tax and other taxes are ways to nickle and dime folks. Where a gas tax is different than a lot of fees and taxes is that it does align revenues with costs. Typically I think it's a good think to have dedicated sources of revenue, especially for capital investments.

One should also consider to the extent that a tax like the gas tax, which is not a percengtage but rather a fixed amount, erodes if it is not adjusted for inflation. Thus, the state, and federal governments failure to adjust the tax from &0.05 or what not every several years amounts to a tax cut.