Call it what it is...a gas tax increase

Published April 2, 2015

by Sarah Curry, The Locker Room, April 2, 2015.

McCrory signed legislation to enact a new gas tax rate.  While the current gas tax was 37.5ў per gallon and the new legislation drops it to 36ў, which is technically a decrease in the rate. What the headlines aren’t telling you is that without the new law, the gas tax would have dropped to 29-28ў in July due to falling gasoline prices.

Even the left knows this is smoke and mirrors policy.  The Progressive Pulse, the left’s NC Policy Watch, blogged yesterday stating the same thing.  So if both sides of the aisle are against this, why did the legislation become law?

The truth, lawmakers have not been good stewards of the transportation dollars.  They need more money and this is how they can do it without being fully accountable to taxpayers.

The Dept. of Transportation is funded through an enterprise system, a self-balancing set of accounts, segregated for a specific purpose in accordance with laws and regulations. The state’s Highway Fund and Highway Trust fund operate in this way – hypothetically. Over the years, money has been removed from these two funds to pay for non-transportation expenses. Last year, over $300 million was transferred out of the highway funds for non-transportation purposes such as positions in the Governor’s office, training on Breathalyzer tests, and inmate labor custody.

So instead of changing the gas tax, why not stop transferring money out of the highway fund for non-transportation purposes? In addition to spending on non-transportation activities, last year’s state budget said DOT was to eliminate 500 full-time positions. Those positions still exist and have not been eliminated. When the state law instructs an agency to cut positions, they should follow the law. Now we have a case of where an increase in the gas tax is going to fund positions that should not exist in the first place – that’s not what I call a good use of taxpayer dollars. Lawmakers should have taken a serious look at how the Transportation funds are managed instead of throwing more money at a broken system.

April 2, 2015 at 9:52 am
bruce stanley says:

Amen, Sarah! Stop spending gas taxes on anything other than roads. Why doesn't the GOP fix this? Is the answer to avoid being criticized by the Democrats for cutting a bloated bureaucracy?

April 2, 2015 at 11:38 am
Richard L Bunce says:

Hey Locksters... getting a little ahead of yourself here. When Democrats claim that a smaller increase in spending than they had planned is really a spending cut you rightly point out that it is in fact a spending increase. So now you try to claim that a tax rate reduction but not as big as the one you planned is a tax increase?

You might want to walk away from that position and focus on the waste and political fraud in transportation spending and the potential for a real rate increase in future years... as well as the gas tax revenue issue of more fuel efficient cars being driven fewer miles.

April 2, 2015 at 5:55 pm
Johnny Hiott says:

Sarah is correct as it will result in drivers paying more in gasoline taxes to provide more for state govt. and the transportation dept. to steal from the motoring public. If monies were used for highways only as the gas tax are supposed to be NC would have some excellent roads.

I keep hearing some sort of justification for raising gas taxes due to more fuel efficient vehicles now in use. Personally I do not believe that for one minute. What has been lost due to efficiency has been more than made up for by the enormous increase in total number of vehicles in NC. Not to mention the ridiculous cost for a title transfer and for a five cent plastic sticker that the state claims is a tag ! None of these taxes are anything other than legalized extortion with most proceeds going to major metropolitan areas while rural area drivers spend most of their time dodging potholes and worse. NC's dept of transportation is corrupt along with the politicians who continually divert monies to their pet projects.