LETTER: Don’t buy into the gas tax deception
To the Editor:
In a recent Our View, you promoted Sen. Mike Vehle’s gas tax agenda with the argument that the 1999 22-cent-per-gallon gas tax is only worth 10.9 cents today due to the impact of inflation. That is a deceptive argument, as that gives the impression that the South Dakota Department of Transportation has less to spend on highways and bridges.
I studied the DOT’s revenues and expenditures from 2002 and up to the recently passed budget. The $400 million annual expenditures and revenues have grown 50 percent from about $400 million to $600 million. The biggest reason for that was Obama’s stimulus package.
Over that last five years, a total of over $1 million extra highway dollars became available.
It is such debt-financed federal spending, whose impact increases the money supply, that is driving inflation. Not only has that reduced the purchasing power of the gas tax, it has caused the cost of gas to triple. And Vehle’s plan is to increase the cost of gasoline even more?
It is typical of liberal politicians to fabricate a crisis in order to fool people into supporting plans that continue to increase the size of government. In the case of South Dakota’s state government, what was once a $2 billion government in 2008 has doubled into a $4 billion government.
That means there are plenty of funds available for our roads and bridges if the money were not going to malinvestments. An example is the new Interstate 90 exit ramp west of Sioux Falls that is hardly used. Examples of local debt financed malinvestments would be the Corn Palace project and the proposed fine arts building that state law prohibits a vote by the people. These malinvestments will not increase economic gain enough to cover future debt payments and thus hurt economic growth.
These malinvestments are the result of the system of legal corruption. Sadly, the Chamber of Commerce special interests and their liberal politicians are not getting enough and now are inventing more ways to justify taking even more money out of our pockets.