(Dennis Hof) – In an op-ed published recently in USA Today, U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue called for a gas tax increase of 5 cents per gallon every year for the next five years saying it “would cost the average American only about $9 a month in additional gas taxes.”
Easy for Donahue to say. He reportedly made over $6.5 MILLION as the Chamber’s CEO last year!
Of greater concern, however, is a recent report in the Washington Examiner in which President Trump’s Transportation Secretary, Elaine Chao, said a gas tax hike was “on the table.”
According to the Tax Foundation, Nevada has the 14th highest rate of gas taxes in the nation. By comparison, neighboring Arizona is 44th while California is 7th.
We should be more like Arizona, not California!
There is some good news, however…
My friend Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) and an absolute beast when it comes to opposing government-growing tax hikes, is 1,000% against raising the federal gas tax. He notes that “more than 50 percent” of existing Highway Trust Fund (HTF) spending goes to “non-road-related projects” such as “recreational trails and beautifying streets.”
“HTF funds have even been used on squirrel sanctuaries,” Grover advises, concluding that Congress should “end the cycle of wasteful spending on projects unrelated to rebuilding America’s roads and bridges.”
Fortunately, any hike in the gas tax would be a violation of ATR’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge. And Michael Tomasky of the liberal Daily Beast blog explains just how effective the Pledge is…
“If the gas tax had been indexed to inflation in 1993, it would be 31 cents today, and we’d be in far better shape. But it wasn’t and we’re not. And it’s all pretty much one man’s fault. Grover Norquist and his awful anti-tax pledge that nearly every Republican in Congress has signed makes it impossible to pass a tax increase. Republicans won’t even discuss it. . . . Democratic priorities aren’t going to do very well on Capitol Hill until they beat the Pledge. It’s been enormously destructive.”
By “indexed” he means putting gas tax hikes on automatic pilot. And by “destructive” he means it thwarts liberal efforts to take more money out of YOUR pocket and put it into the government’s.
And THAT’S why no fiscal conservative should support any legislative candidate – state or federal – who refuses to sign the Pledge!
For the record, I’ve signed the Pledge while my opponent, Assemblyman James Oscarson, has not.
Which helps explain why in 2015 he voted for the largest tax hike in Nevada history – including the Commerce Tax that 80 percent of us voted against in 2014 at the ballot box.
A tax hike is a pay cut. A tax cut is a pay raise. If you want your pay cut, vote for Oscarson. If you want a pay raise, vote for me!
Mr. Hof is a successful Nevada businessman, author, philanthropist and star of the award-winning HBO reality TV series “Cathouse.” He is running in the Republican primary for Nevada’s Assembly District 36 seat and can be reached at DennisHof.com