Indiana House Bill 1002, which would increase the current 33.59 cent-per-gallon gas tax by 10 additional cents, has been approved by the House Roads and Transportation Committee.
Unfortunately, this bill favors corporations rather than citizens. Furthermore, the government is wasting its time removing and adding taxes rather than reallocating funds. Rather than perpetually re-writing the tax code, lawmakers should decide where money needs to go and allocate it likewise, providing stability and normalcy to our state’s tax climate.
Proponents of the bill, mostly corporations, argue it could create better transportation throughout Indiana to improve travel and ship goods.
Indiana is currently projected to need $1 billion to $1.2 billion annually to maintain its existing roads and fund expansions, so those in favor of the bill argue the gas tax will be an important stepping stone to that end.
According to an IndyStar article titled “Road funding plan could shift tax burden to Indiana’s consumers,” however, this tax will mostly benefit the owners of big businesses at the expense of the middle class.
Many of the Republican state lawmakers who are backing this bill also supported bills during the past five years that took away more than $600 million every year from the state’s pocketbook.
This money likely could have been used for roads without going through the process of removing and adding tax codes.
The Statehouse needs to make up its mind. It’s a waste of time to repeal and institute taxes to please a party base rather than managing tax dollars responsibly to begin with.
Larry DeBoer, a Purdue University economics professor, explained why this tax will mostly fall on the middle class. Some taxes, like the corporate and inheritance taxes, “tend to be more progressive. Higher income people pay more.” Because a gas tax affects anyone with a car, the burden will fall on all economic classes.
Those in the middle class who have to pay 44.59 cents in state gas tax per gallon of gasoline will feel that pain a lot more acutely than those in the upper tax brackets, and this money will likely benefit corporations more than anyone else.
If we look at the groups who testified in favor of the bill at the initial hearing, we find many business leaders and agricultural organizations.
Rep. Dan Forestal, D-Indianapolis, said he believes the people who spoke positively about the bill were looking at profits not the actual needs of Hoosiers.
The Editorial Board believes the government should collect enough taxes to maintain a safe, enjoyable driving experience in the state — as enjoyable as I-465 rush hour traffic can be, anyway.
Rather than jumping through all these hoops of passing and repealing taxes as reelection strategies, our lawmakers should keep our actual interests at heart.
Passing legislation that will make it more strenuous for a blue-collar worker to drive to his job every day won’t benefit our state in the long-run.
Our tax code needs to take into account the long term economic consequences it is going to cause for the economy generally and workers specifically.
Though it’s obviously important to have high-quality roads, Indiana’s government will have to find a better way to gain funding.