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Over-Taxed and Under-Served

Jan 10th 2023 7 Min read The Ghost of Thomas Paine

As a life-long resident of Pennsylvania, I'm seeing the quality of life decline, and the cost of living increase.

A big part of that increased cost over the last few years has been related to hikes in fuel taxes and turnpike tolls in our state.

As of January 1st, 2023, Pennsylvania drivers and businesses have been saddled with an increase of 3.5 cents per gallon in gas taxes, and a 4.4 cents per gallon increase in diesel fuel taxes.

This brings the total increase in gas tax in our fair state to 29.9 cents per gallon per gallon since passage of the Transportation Bill in 2013, making our current rate of 80.61 cents per gallon the second-highest gas tax in the country. We trail only the bastion of tax-and-spend Leftism in our country, California, at 86.5 cents per gallon. Just so they get their share, the Feds charge 18.3 cents tax per gallon, which is included in the above amounts.

Though gas prices have declined quite a bit over the last couple of months, they are still about 10 cents per gallon higher than one year ago, and any increase in taxes, on fuel or otherwise, hits consumers dealing with already-spiking retail prices hard.

What's more, industry experts expect that gas prices will start to spiral upward again in the spring.

Will state lawmakers be moved to rescind these latest increases if fuel prices start to jump? Uh... no!!

While it's easy to see that our gas tax is way out of line with the rest of the country, an often-overlooked part of our high cost of living in Pa. is the state's confiscatory tax on diesel fuel. With the latest increase on January 1st, the PA diesel tax is 78.5 cents per gallon, and is also the second highest in the nation, behind only you-know-who on the Left Coast! Add Federal tax of 24.4 cents per gallon, and it brings total road tax for diesel to $1.029 per gallon!

This high tax raises the cost of everything you buy here, from food to clothing to furniture and more, because everything travels by truck!

Adding insult to injury, diesel prices alone are 27% higher than they were a year ago, not including any tax increase! You can blame Democrat energy policy in the Federal Government for that one, but I'll save that for another time!

Now if you're having the same knee-jerk reaction I normally would; (Darn those tax and spend Democrats!), take a deep breath. In this case, it's not the Dems who pushed the Transportation Bill through in 2013, but then-Governor Tom Corbett, a Republican! Wait, you say, Republicans were in the majority in both the state House and Senate at that time! They must have tried to stop this offense to the residents of PA, right?? WRONGO !! Corbett had the support of 62% of Republicans in the House, a big majority of Republicans in the Senate, and of course, all but a few Democrats.

While we're at it, lets talk about the PA Turnpike tolls! Thanks to Act 44, passed in 2007, Pennsylvania Turnpike tolls have increased for 15 consecutive years (no, that's not a typo!!)

This year's increase is a whopping 5%! What's more, there will be an average increase of over 4% from now until 2028, then a 3% increase each year from 2028 to 2050!

Obviously, these toll increases affect truckers too, and thereby increase the cost of consumer goods!

Where do we go for relief? We need to vote out of office anyone who has supported legislation with long term automatic increases like those detailed above, and put pressure on those in office currently to reject new legislation with “perpetual increases” included. With the “Uniparty” system that exists today, it won't be easy to do.

But we all owe it to our kids and grandkids to try!

In the words of Thomas Paine, “The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph”.