Record-low gasoline prices in recent months have spurred some members of Congress to begin proposing increasing the federal tax on gasoline. U.S. Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Jim Inhofe (R-OK) have publicly supported hiking the gas tax, as have other lawmakers.
In late January, the Heartland Institute, which publishes Budget & Tax News, joined more than 50 free-market organizations in calling on members of Congress to resist the urge to increase the federal gas tax.
‘A Lot of Opposition to It’
“AFP is thrilled to be joined by over 50 organizations, including the Heartland Institute, in calling on Congress to keep gas tax hikes off the table,” Christine Harbin Hanson, AFP’s national issue campaign manager, said. “This letter is really important because—while there’s a lot of support for raising the gas tax on Capitol Hill—there’s a lot of opposition to it, off of Capitol Hill.
“At the grassroots level, people are feeling that they’re finally getting a break, in the form of low gas prices. Regular American families are finding that this means that they’re spending less at the gas pump, and there’s more that they can save or spend, or take their family out,” she continued.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, gasoline accounted for 5.1 percent of all consumer spending in 2014.
“This has an impact on real people,” she said.
Hanson added, “Lawmakers are seeing low gas prices as an opportunity to help their bottom lines as well. That’s why we’re hearing many members of Congress proposing to raise the gas tax, as a way to fix some of their fiscal problems.
“Members of Congress should be content to let people enjoy these low gas prices while they last, and not raise the gas tax,” she said.
Jesse Hathaway ([email protected]) is managing editor of Budget & Tax News.
“Over 50 Organizations to Congress: Reject Efforts to Raise the Federal Gas Tax,” http://heartland.org/policy-documents/over-50-organizations-congress-reject-efforts-raise-federal-gas-tax/