Monday, August 18, 2008

"Lawmakers divert approximately 40 percent of the revenue received from our gasoline tax, which also has been frozen for at least the past decade."

Legislators Continue to Divert Tax Revenues

August 18, 2008

Peter Stern
Capitol Hill Blue
Copyright 2008

Legislators Must Stop Diverting Revenues from the Gasoline Tax

What's the use of having a budget and taxes if legislators override them and use funds for other issues?

The gasoline tax was created and implemented to provide the revenue needed to build and maintain our roadways; however, a large portion of that revenue is diverted to other "causes".

In addition various tax dollars are "stored" in general funds and are used for anything that officials feel they want to.

Unfortunately, as is done with many such 'funds', the legislature is permitted to move around the revenue to other interests.

It is common knowledge that lawmakers are diverting approximately 40 percent of the revenue received from our gasoline tax, which also has been frozen for at least the past decade.

Where does it go?

Some of it goes to higher education and some to the Department of Public Safety.

Is it legal for lawmakers to divert the revenue?

While it may be legal, it is NOT the right thing to do. It is NOT ethical.

Last year Senator John Carona, chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, stated that it was time to use the revenue from gas taxes for what it had been intended: building and maintaining Texas roadways.

However, the "beat" goes on and on, as too often our officials use our tax dollars for whatever whim is in vogue.

While legislators should have resolved this issue years ago, it is better late than never since the price of gasoline has risen dramatically and has spurred on daily living costs as well.

Another political issue re: the diversion and freezing of our gasoline taxes is the plan for toll roads throughout the state. The governor and pro-toll proponents, including the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), point to the lack of transportation revenue and insufficient gas tax revenues to continue building highways [as you go method] and that toll roads are needed. Toll roads are special interest efforts and are NOT cost-effective.

Hardworking Texans should contact their Senators and House of Representatives to apply some additional pressure on lawmakers to use the gas tax revenue solely to build and maintain our roads.



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