Higher gas tax would solve many problems

Letter to the editor

Posted: Sunday, November 16, 2003

Last year Governor Murkowski proposed raising the state gasoline tax from eight cents to 20 cents a gallon. Perhaps Frank came up with the idea after learning that the average state gas tax in the U.S. is slightly over 21 cents per gallon. Alaska's tax is the lowest, except for Georgia (check www.lmoga.com/taxrates.htm for the list).

The Murkowski team estimated that increasing our gas tax to 20 cents would bring an additional $41million into the state operating budget.

Our Legislature didn't take this tax proposal seriously, but they did succeed in cutting the state road maintenance budget down to $55 million. Using Murkowski's figure of $41 million, it appears that our state gas tax is currently bringing in approximately $27.3 million. That's less than half of the trimmed down maintenance budget!

If we were to raise our gas tax to the national average, it would completely pay the road maintenance bill - and more. Considering some of the gloomy headlines we see on a regular basis such as increasing budget deficits, insufficient funds for education, increasing numbers of obese citizens, pollution and global warming, an increased gas tax would seem to attack all of these problems. In the upcoming session, let's encourage our legislators to support this plan.

Bret Schmiege

Juneau



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