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Your Views: Raising tax on fuel makes more sense than a new sales tax

POSTED: July 25, 2012 1:00 a.m.

Like the rest of us, I have seen many articles discussing the need for various transportation projects, the jobs and economic development that might ensue, the return on investment for our country and the absolute calamity that will befall us if T-SPLOST does not pass. What I have not seen discussed is the basic tax structure as proposed.

With even a rudimentary knowledge of economics, we understand that if we want more of something we should subsidize it (make it easier to get) and if we want less of it we should tax it (make it harder to get.)

A merchant who wants to sell more goods will discount the sales price (subsidy) and his goods sell faster. A policeman who wants fewer speeders will issue more speeding tickets (tax) and people slow down. This is easy to understand.

Yet our elected officials want to tax most goods and, by not taxing it, subsidize motor fuel. The absolute inevitable results will be fewer sales of goods (and ultimately fewer jobs) and more wasteful use of the untaxed motor fuel. Goods will be bought elsewhere (the next country, or state, or via the Internet) and more people will buy more subsidized gasoline, race down the highways and clog them again, just as soon as the new improvements are completed. We will have accomplished nothing.

On the other hand, if we tax motor fuels by the amount needed for the proposed projects, the price of gas will go up substantially. I will probably be among the first to whine, scream, holler and protest about the higher prices for gas, but I will also slow down when driving and try to stay off the roads when possible (reducing the need for more new road projects.) In addition, I will tend to buy more goods locally.

As I understand the current proposal, not one of the millions of drivers who pass through this state each year (and use up our roads) will pay an additional dime to help maintain and expand these roads. I say this one needs to go back to the drawing board. Vote “no” to T-SPLOST until it is corrected.

Julian Heeth


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