Combined with state gas taxes, many motorists would pay over $7.50 in taxes for the average fill-up." An Open Letter to the President and Congress:
Taxpayers Oppose Hike in Federal Gas Tax

In an open letter to President Bush and Congress, the Center for Individual Freedom (CFIF) this week joined 55 other national and state organizations in opposing any increase in the federal excise tax on gasoline. 

The letter, which was organized by the National Taxpayers Union, was a response to recent calls by some Members of Congress for an increase the current 18.4 cent-per-gallon tax. 

"One legislative plan promoted by Representative James Oberstar would temporarily increase the federal gas tax by 5 cents per gallon to fund bridge repair around the country," the letter notes.   "We are extremely concerned that this 'temporary' tax increase would turn into a permanent one.  After all, President George H. W. Bush's 'temporary' gas tax increase of 5 cents per gallon in 1990 never went away as promised, while lawmakers 'repurposed' President Clinton's 4.3 cent-per-gallon hike when the budget seemed headed toward a surplus."

Representative Oberstar (D-MN), Chairman of the House Transportation of Infrastructure Committee, is pushing the tax hike in response to the tragic bridge collapse in Minneapolis.  But the letter rejects the notion that there isn't enough money currently available for infrastructure upkeep.  

"Both the federal and state governments have made record levels of transportation money available," the organizations wrote. "The 2005 Highway Bill increased related funding by 42 percent, to a record $286.5 billion.  It also contained 6,500 earmarks totaling 9 percent of the bill's cost.  The Fiscal Year 2008 Transportation, Housing & Urban Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill contained 1,434 earmarks worth over $2.2 billion.  This is money that could have been directed to real need-based priorities determined by transportation experts.  Instead, it was handed out to politically connected allies. Congress's bad habit of earmarking has siphoned money away from core repair functions and into questionable projects. This reckless binge should be ended before lawmakers even consider raising gas taxes by a single penny."

While proponents of the Oberstar's proposal suggest that few people would even notice the increase, the letter points out that "In reality, a 5 cent-per-gallon jump would represent a steep 27 percent tax hike over the current rate and cost American motorists an estimated $25 billion over the next three years. Combined with state gas taxes, many motorists would pay over $7.50 in taxes for the average fill-up."

To read the full text of the letter, click here (.pdf).

August 23, 2007
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