Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Opuscula

Check expenditures
Before increasing taxes

 

The state of America's highways and byways has been declared by many civil engineers as dismal at best.

This is a nationwide problem if tv reports can be believed. I know it's true in my area.

The engineers tell us that all it takes is money, money the government apparently lacks.

What to do? Raise taxes, of course.

Rather than raise taxes, taxpayers should ask: What happened to all the money collected on every gallon of gasoline and Diesel we buy?

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), an independent organization, every gallon of gasoline sold in the U.S. adds 18.4 cents to the federal kitty; a gallon of Diesel adds 24.4 cents to the federal coffers.

Travelers who take to the air pay a 22 cents a gallon for jet fuel while commercial fill-up cost a mere 4.4 cents a for jet fuel, according to the Tax Foundation.

In addition to fuel taxes, travelers on commercial flights get the privilege of paying still more fees (taxes); just how much is listed by the U.S. State Department on its Airport Taxes and Fees Update page.

All of the above are federal taxes. State taxes are on top of those fees, but stay in the states in which they are collected and supposedly used by the states to maintain their highways and byways. The American Petroleum Institute (API) web site has a state-by-state breakdown of fuel-related taxes.

IN MY STATE I pay 54.82 cents/gallon for fuel for my flivver. Folks to drive Diesel fueled vehicles get to pay 58.07 cents a gallon, but of course their gallon usually takes them farther.


Click on image to enlarge

I'm not complaining about the user tax I'm currently paying. I'm not happy with what I consider gouging by the petroleum companies (that also pay taxes on their products). I AM complaining about the apparently lack of return on MY investment due to what I assume must be mishandling of the monies I and every other traveleer - by car, bus, train, or plane - pays into the federal treasury, monies that are supposed to be used to maintain and improve the nation's transportation infrastructure.

According to media reports, the funds are NOT being "wasted" on bridge inspectors. Nor or the funds being "wasted" on railroad safety measures (that might have prevented the recent D.C.-to-NYC derailment).

Before congress burdens Americans with more transportation-related taxes, let it demand an accounting from the various bureaucracies that are handling the collected revenue now.

Perhaps there are too many administrators and not enough people in the field. Perhaps there is some "pork" that can be trimmed from projects close to individual politicians' hearts.

Over the years our politicians, of all parties, have let our nation slide into a second - if not third - class country both within our borders and internationally.

I don't think the answer to our problems is to raise taxes. Rather I suggest it is to make better use of the resources at hand; cut waste and inefficiency.

It may be necessary that additional taxes must be levied, but first let us take a look at where the money is going now.