Those in favor of the increase are actually presenting a hypothetical situation in which this increase in the tax could actually decrease the amount of tax an individual would pay per gallon of gasoline. Talk about a slight of hand trick and the hypothetical world of classroom economics where everything is possible. Although I admire the academic exercise this proposal puts one through, the real world factors and economic conditions must be given heavier consideration.
Those against the increase in the proposed increase in gasoline tax, by far the larger majority, present an argument which is not based upon hypothetical academic studies, but rather on the realities of the cost of everyday living and the impact that this proposed increase will have on their family wallets. The results of an informal and unscientific poll which I conducted recently revealed 90 percent of the people surveyed are not in favor of an increase in the increase, 5 percent of the people in favor of the increase in the gasoline tax, and 5 percent of the people unsure or had no opinion on the issue.
Now lets play a variation of twenty questions, Subject: Road Repairs and the Road Fund
Does the State of West Virginia need funds for road projects and repairs? Yes.
Does the State of West Virginia need to increase her funding for road projects and repairs? Yes.
Is an increase in the tax paid per gallon of gasoline the only way to obtain increased funds? No.
Are there other ways to fund the State Road Fund besides using a dedicated funding source? Yes.
Does the State use only dedicated funds to fund her other agencies and departments? No
Could the State allocate monies from the General Revenue Fund to the State Road Fund and by doing so obtain the same amount of funds that an increase in the gasoline tax would generate? Yes.
Now let’s tally up your score. If you answers matched those listed you score 100 percent. If you got most of the questions right your score reflects that you are a hard working, down to earth individual who knows from experience there is more that one way to skin a cat.
So what is the bottom line? It should be apparent to those that serve the public, members of the State Legislature, that increasing the tax on a per gallon basis is not the way to properly fund our road repairs. Since this system was put into affect, our state road projects and repairs have continued to decline. The State needs to be forward thinking and use a different method to put revenue into the Road Fund. Until we start using our common sense and try “skinning the cat” a different way our commutes to work, school and church will continue to be filled with potholes.
On a side note: I wish you and your family a very blessed Thanksgiving. May all of you who will be hunting this season return home safely and may you be blessed with a deer to nourish you and your family in the winter months ahead.
Delegate Patti E. Schoen can be reached at 304-340-3141 or 304-415-0411, or by e-mail at pschoen@mail,wvnet.edu. For more information please check out www.pattischoen.us and www.leig.state.wv.us.