A family-owned daily newspaper serving Riverton, Lander and Fremont County, Wyoming since 1949

High gasoline tax would punish the middle class

Dec 31, 2012 - Mike Lieberman, Riverton


On Dec. 9, you ran an editorial, "A Tax Upon Us" and lauded the idea of a 10-cent gasoline tax. You even suggested that in this reddest of red states that the average citizen would normally cry "another Democrat tax and spend' tax." To that last comment, you might be right, but only because the average citizen apparently does not know a real Democrat from a real Republican.

A 10-cent tax is a flat fax, as a Republican might name it. We Democrats call it a regressive tax. It is regressive because it hurts the poorest the hardest.

And percentage wise, it will get most of its revenue out of the hard-working middle class, we who are having the hardest of times keeping our heads above water.

The simple truth of the matter is that it is the heavy equipment on our roads that does the most damage. Many states have weigh stations throughout their states, and require commercial vehicles to cross scales, if they don't have a fixed tare weights on which they pay special road taxes.

Those extra taxes, paid by those whose vehicles do most of the damage on roads, goes a long way to offset the need for flat/regressive taxes. Couple that with a toll on commercial vehicles using I-80 and we would remove any need for a 10-cent gasoline tax. (Every Wyoming citizen already subsidizes traffic along I-80 which just passes through our state but never stops.)

It is not the job of the average citizen to subsidize industry, which is what this proposed tax will do. However to me, it is a typical Republican tax, taking from the middle class and the poor to subsidize industry.

So, no, the 10 cent gas tax is not a tax that any good Democrat should support. This is a Republican tax on the average citizen to support those who already get lower federal tax treatment and many favors the average Joe never sees.

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