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Fuel tax increase 'completely unnecessary,' and the money could be found elsewhere

Jan 20, 2013 - John Birbari, Lander

Editor:

Wake up, Wyoming. Your legislature is about to hike the fuel tax by 10 cents. It is completely unnecessary.

The Department of Transportation says it needs more money, but does it? Whenever the legislature comes to the citizens of this state to ask for more money, there is an implicit assumption that state government is being run as efficiently as possible. Do any of you think our state government cannot find spending to cut?

Here's an example. Monday morning, I heard a radio spot for the Wyoming Department of Transportation. They are sponsoring a program called "Coaches Corner." Why does the DOT need to advertise?

Here's another place to cut: payroll. Did you know that the average worker in private industry in Wyoming earns $35,000 per year? Care to guess what the average state government employee earns? It's $55,000 per year -- $20,000 more, or 57 percent. This is just wrong.

And it gets worse. Gov. Mead has $11 million in his supplemental budget request for state employee raises. It's not enough they are making 57 percent more than most of us? If you can't cut their salaries, then cut the numbers. Did you know that Wyoming has the largest number of state and local government employees per capita in the nation? It's true.

State government spending is out of control. Please speak up and tell your representative that you cannot afford this fuel tax, and they need to find another way to get the money, like cutting wasteful government spending.

After all, haven't you been trimming your budget lately?

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