Monday, March 22, 2021

Classical Gas

Back in February, I wrote Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) to ask him why he voted against the nomination of Pete Buttigieg as Secretary of Transportation. Yesterday, he — or his office — replied.

I voted against his confirmation because, during his testimony in the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, I asked Secretary Buttigieg about the insolvency of the Highway Trust Fund, which is almost entirely funded by revenue generated by federal gas taxes. In his response, he was open to increasing the gas tax and has on other occasions signaled support for other taxes; including a vehicle miles traveled tax on electric vehicles. I will never support a tax increase on American families, especially one that disproportionally [sic] hurts low and fixed incomes households.

I replied.

Thank you for your response.

To quote Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, “Taxes are the price we pay for civilization.” Unlike some members of your party, including the former president, I believe in paying my fair share. In fact, this year for the first time in my life, I am not receiving a tax refund but paying in addition to that which has already been withheld. But as the Republicans are proud to say, this is the greatest country on Earth. Well, if you want to fly first class, you have to pay the fare.

The federal gas tax has not been raised since 1993. Meanwhile, the fuel efficiency of vehicles has doubled, meaning fewer gallons of fuel are being sold, and the price of fuel, when adjusted for inflation, is close to what it was during the Reagan administration. The federal fuel taxes pay for highway maintenance and construction, and it is in sore need of being done. After all, the Trump administration promised infrastructure reform nearly every time they needed a talking point, yet they proposed nothing. Our roads and bridges are crumbling before our eyes. What solution have you proposed to replenish the fund other than raising the gas tax? Let’s hear it.

I am glad to hear you are concerned about the needs of low-income families. One way to alleviate the burden would be to raise the federal minimum wage like they’re doing in the state you represent. That way your concern about their ability to pay more at the pump would seem to be genuine. So far, you have been against it
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I will give you the benefit of the doubt that you voted against Mr. Buttigieg for the reasons you stated, not because he is openly gay.

I’ll let you know if I hear back.

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