POSTED: Monday, February 18, 2013 - 6:13pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - 10:44am
The Texas Department of Transportation says it needs money.
And that is one thing that is in short supply this session.
Usually, states dedicate their gasoline taxes for roads.
Two problems, our gas tax hasn’t been raised in 21 years. It hasn’t come close to keeping up with inflation.
And there isn’t the political courage in the Legislature to raise it.
And secondly, we siphon off 1.8-billion dollars of it for other things in the budget.
But Senator Robert Nichols says, the solution is as close as your nearest new car dealer.
We charge a 6.25% sales tax on the purchase of a new car.
Nichols wants to use that for the roads the cars drive on.
The big problem? It blows about a $5-billion dollar hole in the budget.
Nichols says a slow phase in will ease the pain.
But the fact remains, you rob Peter to pay Paul, and Peter will come looking for his money.
“That’s exactly correct,” says Quorum Report editor Harvey Kronberg. “Of course the problem is that we need billions of dollars for transportation which would imply we need a new revenue, funding source, and we’re averse to tax increases. So, kudos to the Senator for trying to think outside the box, but I’m not sure it really moves the ball other than to put one set of numbers in another column.”
That makes the biennial budget a shell game of shifting cuts.
We tried to reach Nichols by phone today, but he was not available in time for our newscast.