Sunday letters: Gas tax the way to fund roads

July 21, 2013 

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— Carl Davis, a senior analyst at the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, recently told MSN Money Now that the way the gasoline tax is designed means it has to be raised periodically. A 2011 analysis found that after factoring in construction costs and inflation, the buying power of gas taxes had dropped by 40 percent or more in 20 states.

“These are definitely states that have decided to pay for roads and bridges by taking money away from education and other public services,” he said. “We have seen that happen in past years, but you can only do that for so long. Eventually you have to address the root of the problem, which is that the revenue sources states are trying to use to pay for roads are badly designed and are not keeping pace.”

South Carolina’s gas tax is one of the lowest in the nation. Increasing it is the only way to raise the $29 billion needed to improve our roads. Thirty percent of gas purchases are from out of state, which means we’ll be throwing more than $9 billion out the window if we raise the money any other way.

Gov. Nikki Haley and other politicians are planning to do it the way Carl Davis explains — taking it away from education and other public services. It seems that any rational person would agree that the gas tax is the way to go. So the politicians must think raising any tax might cause them to not get re-elected. What do you think?

Elliott Sheorn


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