There seems to be paranoia among politicians that anyone who proposes a tax increase is doomed to be voted out of office. With the current trend in politics (Obama’s election) this is no longer the case. People want their government to provide necessary services. The past eight years of letting a few people get filthy rich has proven not to work for the general population. For eight years our leaders have dangled a lottery ticket in front of us and called it financial planning. See, by dangling the lottery ticket they were telling us that you, too, could become filthy rich, even though the odds were 13 million to 1.
Whatever happened to the slogans “You get what you pay for” or “There is no such thing as a free lunch?” If we want good government services we need to pay for them. We are no longer trimming the fat (and I doubt there was very much to begin with)but our governor is cutting essential services and driving Nevada into the gutter.
Having to pay taxes is not causing home foreclosures or getting people laid off from work. Increased government fees do hit you in the pocketbook but that doesn’t hurt as much as a lack of health services, underfunded education and insufficient roadwork. So how can we generate revenue with the least amount of impact?
Well, the oil companies have opened the door on this one. Gas prices almost hit $5 a gallon; now they are below $2 a gallon. With the president in the oil company’s pocket the prices went up. Now they are conveniently low and probably will stay down. So here is our opportunity. Why not add a state tax of 10 cents per gallon? It would generate millions of dollars and gas will still be cheap as compared to what occurred over the past several years.
People paid exorbitant prices for gas when all the profit was going to the oil companies. I didn’t hear any mass demands for regulation of gas prices and even though we didn’t like it, we lived with it. With a 10-cent -per-gallon tax we could raise enough revenue to stop the destruction of our state government and we already know that people won’t complain about it very much. Nor should they. This time the revenue will be spent on the taxpayers, not the rich oil barons.
The gas tax would also have the advantage of keeping us focused on higher mileage vehicles and alternative fuels. We are going to run out of oil; it is just a question of when.
Hopefully our elected officials will show some backbone and do what is needed to raise some revenue and stop cutting state services. Tunnel vision won’t get us where we need to go. We need a leader with the ability to change direction.
Jeff Blanck is an attorney in private practice in Reno. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.