An open letter to Chairman Palmer and members of the House Transportation & Defense Committee


To: Chairman Palmer and members of the House Transportation & Defense Committee.

Congratulations Representative Palmer for your bold proposals on fixing our transportation problem, but why are you laying most of the burden on the middle and lower income families of Idaho?

Your suggestion of raising the gasoline tax by 8 cents and the diesel tax by 12 cents may make a lot of sense to you but when you add another 3 cents on top of that because, as if you didn’t know, the additional 3 cent transfer tax will also be passed along to the consumer. That’s a grand total of 36 cents per gallon or double the Federal gasoline tax.

On top of that, you suggest that the tax be allowed to rise 1 cent per year to adjust for inflation. Even though you say there is a tool to stop the annual increase, we have seldom, if ever, seen government turn down a tax increase.

How about that great idea of raising passenger car and truck registration fees by 50%, but you want to raise commercial registrations by only 25%, again placing the burden again on the lower and middle income families who will bear the brunt of these new taxes and fees. Even those who can afford a new electric or hybrid auto to save on gas are going to be caught in your new legislative tax and fee web.

Senator Jim Rice’s suggestion on exempting the sales tax for materials used in road construction is great for the construction companies, but how will we ever know if the taxpayers are getting any benefit, and the construction companies don’t just take that sales tax money for themselves. Who will do the auditing?

Representative Phylis King seems to be the only one thrilled about your proposal and wants even more with a local option taxing authority to give cities the power to raise taxes on residents to pay for public transit projects.

It appears you are starting a war on the lower and middle income earners of Idaho because this gas tax and your fees are the most regressive form of taxation that disproportionately hits these citizens harder than anyone else.

Where is the tax relief for our middle and lower income citizens? You offer nothing in return for all of your increased taxes and fees. You give them no consideration at all. They are dealing with higher housing cost, higher food costs, higher health insurance costs and now you want to take even more money out of their pockets. Not only that, but when you raise taxes on diesel and commercial vehicle registrations that is going to get passed right back to the same lower and middle class earners.

How about getting rid of the regressive grocery tax which hurts the same people even more? They can decide how much to drive, but they all have to feed their families.

All in all Representative Palmer I’d say you are trying real hard to lose your next election, unless of course, you get a lot of support from the Idaho road contractors. They sure helped the Governor get reelected. If you’re going to proceed with this tax, I would look a little harder at how you implement registration fees so as to spread the cost over to the upper income earners as they tend to have higher cost vehicles. (Hint value = fee cost). Don’t try to hide the additional 3 cents in a transfer tax which will be passed along to consumers we are not dumb. Lower the proposed tax and get more from the general fund which is where these costs belong in the first place, and for heaven’s sake don’t be naïve enough to fall for that supposed need for a local option tax. It’s bad enough we have all of these new state proposed taxes and fees without giving our local governments the option to raise our taxes even higher.

Here’s an idea whose time has certainly come. Get our land back from the federal government so we can make use of our natural resources and bring prosperity back to our state so we can have jobs paying 50 and 60 thousand dollars in our rural areas and can increase our GDP. We have billions of dollars of untapped resources at our finger tips and are unable to unlock them because we won’t stand up to the feds. Want to find $500 million in tax revenues real quick, then unlock our lands with their vast resources and allow us to manage them for our state’s economic benefit, not for the benefit of a bunch of bureaucrats in Washington D.C. The federal government has done a terrible job of managing our land and we all know it. If you want change, sometimes you have to wrestle with the Devil himself.

Tea Party Bob