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Friday, March 14, 2008

The Facts Ma’am, Just the Facts

Responding to Reporter and Commentator Patrick Tepoorten’s article, Senator Rick Olseen (D-17) said, "Tepoorten should report the facts" and "I would like to point out the facts" and charged Tepoorten with ". . . irresponsible journalism . . . " Did Olseen really give the facts—all the pertinent facts about the issues he addressed? No!

According to Senator Olseen, a person ". . . driving 15,000 miles with a fuel economy of 22 miles per gallon, would spend about an additional $37 due to the increase in the gas tax." He opined, "I don’t think that’s too much to ask for safe roads and bridges for our families."

Using his figures for a year of driving, that’s 682 gallons of gas at 5.5¢ tax per gallon. That $37 is correct for the first year of driving, but Olseen didn’t say anything about the second year and the third and the fourth year.

You can read all the facts for yourself online in the transportation bill. The gas tax increases by 2¢ per gallon within 21 days of the passage of the bill, making it effective in early April (see lines 17.5-17.13 of the bill). Then it increases another 3¢ on October 1 (lines 16.31-17.4). Then in the succeeding years, a surcharge is added each July 1st (lines 6.29-7.18).

  • 2009 0.5¢
  • 2010 2.1¢
  • 2011 2.5¢
  • 2012 3.0¢
While taking Tepoorten to task, Olseen didn’t tell his readers about the future surcharges, but he should know because he voted for them.

Then too, the $37 increase for the first year isn’t just a $37 increase. That amount is for your personal driving. Olseen didn’t tell you that all the goods and services you buy will also have the gas tax increase which will be passed on to you, the customer. The electrician, plumber, UPS driver and cartage truck will see an increase in the gas tax that they add on to the cost of doing business. So you will actually see double or triple the $37 increase.

There is more. Low income people will receive a $12.50 credit per person to help offset the gas tax increase (16.10-16.30). Guess who pays that? You’re right, the middle and high income earners do. So add that to the $37. But even the low income bracket will pay the extra cost passed on in the goods and services they use.

This paragraph is added on March 16. I forget to mention the following tax increase when I made this post. Vehicle license tab fees (otherwise known as highway user taxes) have been increased at least $25 (14.15-16.9). For a two-car family, that's at least another $50 per year. That additional cost to owners of vehicles providing goods and services will be passed on to consumers as part of the cost of doing business. This will hit the lower income earners too.

There’s more he didn’t tell his readers. The tax on propane and natural gas you use for heating, cooking and grilling is increasing (17.11-18.6). And of course there is an increased gas tax to transport those energy necessities to you.

There’s more he failed to mention. Rental cars have a higher fee (18.7-19.2). And then there is the potential of a sales tax on vehicle purchases (24.27-25.11).

All this adds up to a figure significantly higher than $37. Tepoorten is far more accurate than the Senator. Politicians should spend more time telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, and less time taking an accurate commentator to task.

Senator Olseen wrote that he is proud of his vote. If so, why does he have to attack an accurate commentator?

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