The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Editorials

April 11, 2013

To Corbett: Don’t take easy way out

Proposed gas tax unjust, unacceptable

— Putting an additional 25 cents on the cost of a gallon of gasoline will further cripple an already-fragile state economy, hurting not only motorists but also businesses and industries.

That’s what will happen in a few short years if Gov. Tom Corbett gets the OK to lift the ceiling on the state’s wholesale gas tax.

Meanwhile, we have news for our governor and every other state politician who has declared they are adamantly opposed to increasing taxes: Make no mistake, lifting the ceiling on the wholesale gas tax would be a tax increase.

That Pennsylvania is in a financial pickle with crumbling roads and bridges should scare every citizen of the commonwealth. We want safe highways and bridges, but we don’t have to rape the motoring public to do so.

We’ve been warned about this, dating to the Rendell administration, but little has been done to find the billions of dollars that will be required to address the crisis.

Until now.

All along we should have known the answer would be to increase the taxes on our residents even more. That has always been the easy way out for governments.

We say this:

* Put the burden on the Marcellus Shale industry, the folks who are sucking out our energy sources at bargain prices. They’re here, they want our resources and they’re making money. A fair tax is not only acceptable but expected. Other states aren’t offering them a free ride.

* Cut the size of government and slash the spending.

* Do away with waste and stop the fraud.

Take a ride on Interstate 95 to Florida and you probably won’t find a state with higher gasoline prices than Pennsylvania. If you don’t think that keeps industries or even tourists from coming here, you’re sadly mistaken.

“Car owners pay a gasoline tax, a registration fee, an inspection sticker fee, a driver’s license fee. They pay sales tax when they buy their car; they pay sales tax on auto repairs; they pay sales tax on auto parts; they pay a tire tax; they pay a car lease tax; and they pay tolls to use some highways and bridges,” said Rep. Bradley Roae,   R-Crawford.  

How much more should they be asked to pay? And how about the stress it puts on companies that must deal with shipping fees, gas-up fleets of automobiles or pay employees mileage reimbursements?

The governor, state Transportation Secretary Barry Schoch and other members of the Corbett Cabinet are traveling around the state trying to drum up support for the gas-tax plan.

When they stop in Johnstown, we’ll tell them they don’t have our support. We urge our readers to tell their representatives in Harrisburg the same.

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