Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Strange Bedfellows: Right Wing US Chamber of Commerce Backs Increase In Gas Tax

It is rare that I find myself even in partial agreement with the
Chamber, so this was a pleasant surprise.
"The Chamber (of Commerce) supports reasonable increases in gas taxes
that are phased in and indexed to inflation," the group's president,
Thomas Donohue, told the House of Representatives Committee on

"From a business standpoint, if you need something that's going to
provide a good return, you have to go out and invest in it and buy
it," he said, referring to highways and other infrastructure that make
it possible to produce and move goods.

"That's why we're willing to pay more in gas and diesel taxes for
something we know is going to make us more productive and efficient
and lower our costs," Donohue said.
As a general matter I am opposed to regressive taxation. Gas taxes
are an exception, for two reasons. One, they are not purely
regressive. Plenty of poor people do not have cars or consume much
gasoline; owning a vehicle is an expensive proposition. Two, and the far
greater factor, is that auto-centric policy and driving behavior
produces a great deal of negative externalities (pollution,
congestion, sprawling development, national security issues) that must
be priced if we are to have anything approaching a decent system.

I don't have any illusions about the Chamber's motivations here, but we need to take our allies where we find them on this fight.

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