Though I am not big on raising taxes, gas taxes are the best way to pay for roads. Typically larger vehicles use more gas and cause more wear and tear to the roads, it is a tax that makes sense;

Some lawmakers think raising the tax on gas by three cents a gallon could be the solution for saving South Dakota’s roads.

There is also an effort to raise licensing fees, which I support, I think they are pretty low in South Dakota. What I don’t support is the inequality in that proposal;

The bill will also raise licensing fees for vehicles by ten dollars, and registration fees for recreational vehicles and trailers by five dollars.

If anything I think it should be $20 for recreational vehicles instead of $5. Why charge more on necessary vehicles then on luxury vehicles? Once again catering to the rich instead of the working class.

One thing we have to watch closely though is making sure this money goes towards roads and roads only. The state has a habit of saying one thing when it comes to tax dollars and doing another (Video Lottery and education funding for example). Sioux Falls pulls this crap to. The 2nd penny is supposed to be used for roads but instead the city throws it into the CIP, spending it on everything from rock and wood thingies at McKennan Park to historically correct windows on the Pavilion. If the state would spend the gas and licensing fee taxes the way it is intended we would be driving on streets and highways of gold.

8 Thoughts on “A gas tax makes sense if it is spent wisely

  1. Ghost of Dude on March 10, 2009 at 6:48 am said:

    That was the reason I didn’t vote for the tobacco tax in ’06. The majority of the money went into the general fund – making our state budget dependent on people continuing to smoke at increasing levels.

  2. l3wis on March 10, 2009 at 6:57 am said:

    That’s what irritates me with the state and more with the city of Sioux Falls. They tell us we are raising taxes to pay for certain things then turnaround and throw it in the genral fund and spend it on stupid crap like $170,000 bathrooms in parks.

  3. Costner on March 11, 2009 at 7:06 am said:

    The problem with earmarking funds to go to a specific purpose is local governments just adjust their books to make it appear legit.

    For instance – if they earmarked the gas tax for roads only, they will just take the general fund money that would have gone to roads and spend it elsewhere. If they earmark money from video lottery to schools, they will use that money for schools yet cut the money coming from other sources. It is all a shell game and they use these “mandates” and “funding earmarks” for political purposes.

    Coincidentally, this is exactly how the United Way works. If you give a donation and say you want your money to go to the Girl Scouts, they just give your money to the Girl Scouts but take money away elsewhere – so at the end of the day the Girl Scouts get the same money they would have received, and the United Way makes you feel better because you think you controlled where your money went.

    Because of this – all the money should be dumped into one pot. We can all argue about how it should be spent, but it does no good to talk about specific earmarks from specific sources because it is all just a game.

  4. l3wis on March 11, 2009 at 7:33 am said:

    I stopped giving to the United Way a long, long, time ago because of that. I feel just give money directly to a charity (or even better an individual in need). I feel orgs like the UW spend way too much on advertising and administration. If I give a dollar to a charity, I want the charity to spend at least $.99 on the charity.

  5. Costner on March 11, 2009 at 8:47 am said: is your friend.

    They are the reason I’ll never give a dime to the American Cancer Society or any charity with ‘Disabled Veterans’, ‘Police’, or ‘Firefighter’ in the title.

    It is almost disgusting to see what some of these so-called charities spend their money on.

  6. I used to work at a printshop here in town that did printing for the SE Boy Scouts. Wanna talk about waste? I won’t go into detail, but I will say it is sad how much money they blow considering they get it from making kids sell popcorn.

  7. Costner on March 11, 2009 at 1:56 pm said:

    Penn & Teller did a nice episode on the Boy Scouts. Although I already knew everything they discussed, it really did a good job reminding me why I don’t buy their popcorn.

    Of course it should be noted that the Boy Scouts are in no way affiliated with the Girl Scouts.

  8. l3wis on March 11, 2009 at 2:52 pm said:

    Oh, I buy them cookies!

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