Feb 15, 2018

What They Are Saying: Unprecedented Gas Tax Hike Would Disproportionately Hurt the Most Vulnerable on the Heels of Historic Tax Relief

Post by Freedom Partners

The Problem with Infrastructure Isn’t a Lack of Funds, It’s a Failure of Execution

Arlington, VA — A 25-cent gas tax increase from 18.4 cents per gallon to 43.4 cents to pay for infrastructure would mark the largest tax increase in history at the pump, if enacted.

The proposal has long been rejected by lawmakers due to the disproportionate burden it would impose on middle-class Americans who pay a higher percentage of their earnings for energy costs and everyday consumer goods – like gasoline.

The President’s transportation secretary, Elaine Chao, explained that raising the gas tax would have a negative impact on ordinary Americans, many of whom live paycheck-to-paycheck under tight budgets.

“The gas tax, like many of the other pay-fors that are being discussed, is not ideal … The gas tax has adverse impact, a very regressive impact on the most vulnerable within our society; those who depend on jobs, who are hourly workers, so these are tough decisions,” Secretary Chao warned.

Freedom Partners joined in a coalition of nearly 30 organizations led by Americans for Prosperity asserting their opposition to raising the federal gas tax as part of any infrastructure reform legislation. Last month, Freedom Partners and AFP sent a letter to President Trump warning that a proposal to raise the gas tax from 18.4 cents per gallon to 43.4 cents would undermine the benefits of recently enacted tax relief.

The problem with infrastructure isn’t a lack of funds, it’s a failure of execution. The Obama stimulus showed there’s billions of dollars of waste and corporate welfare buried in all kinds of infrastructure projects, and we hope to work with Congress and the Trump administration to find it so taxpayers are protected.

Freedom Partners & AFP: A Smarter and More Efficient Way to Maintain and Modernize Infrastructure


Americans For Prosperity Chief Government Affairs Officer Brent Gardner: “’Increasing The Gas Tax Is The Wrong Approach To Addressing Our Nation’s Infrastructure Needs.” “’Increasing the gas tax is the wrong approach to addressing our nation’s infrastructure needs,’ Brent Gardner, the chief government affairs officer at Americans for Prosperity, a Koch-affiliated group, said in a statement on Wednesday.” (Mark Niquette, “Trump Surprises Lawmakers With Support For Gasoline Tax Hike,” Bloomberg, 2/14/18)

  • Gardner: “Instead Of Undermining The Relief Taxpayers Just Received, The President And Congress Should Focus On Smarter Spending And Breaking Through The Regulatory Gridlock That Delays Projects And Drives Up Costs.” “’The American people are just beginning to feel the benefits of the recently passed tax cuts bill,’ Gardner said. ‘Instead of undermining the relief taxpayers just received, the president and Congress should focus on smarter spending and breaking through the regulatory gridlock that delays projects and drives up costs.’” (Mark Niquette, “Trump Surprises Lawmakers With Support For Gasoline Tax Hike,” Bloomberg, 2/14/18)

Washington Examiner Headline: “Conservatives Oppose Trump Over Gas Tax Hike.” (Sean Higgins, “Conservatives Oppose Trump Over Gas Tax Hike,” Washington Examiner, 2/14/18)

Americas For Prosperity: “Increasing The Gas Tax Would Effectively Undermine The Benefits Of Tax Reform By Clawing Back Hundreds Of Billions Of Dollars From Low- And Middle-Class Families.” “Americans for Prosperity, a group fund by the billionaire Koch brothers, highlighted comments Tuesday from Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao calling the gas tax a ‘regressive’ levy that falls disproportionately on low-income families. ‘Increasing the gas tax would effectively undermine the benefits of tax reform by clawing back hundreds of billions of dollars from low- and middle-class families. We strongly urge the president and Congress to abandon the idea of increasing the federal gas tax and instead focus on spending smarter, preventing new burdens on taxpayers and breaking through regulatory gridlock,’ the group said.” (Sean Higgins, “Conservatives Oppose Trump Over Gas Tax Hike,” Washington Examiner, 2/14/18)

The Washington Post: “But Another Key Set Of Republican Donors, The Koch Network, Adamantly Opposes Any Increase In The Gas Tax.” “But another key set of Republican donors, the Koch network, adamantly opposes any increase in the gas tax. More than 25 groups, mostly backed by the Koch brothers, sent a letter to Congress on Monday that said “raising the gas tax is a bad idea.” (Heather Long, “Trump Urges GOP To Consider A 25-Cent Hike In The Gas Tax,” The Washington Post, 2/14/18)

  • Gardner: “A Higher Gas Tax Means Higher Prices Not Just On Gas, But On Goods And Services Throughout The Economy. These Costs Would Inevitably Be Passed Along To Consumers In The Form Of Higher Prices …” “’A higher gas tax means higher prices not just on gas, but on goods and services throughout the economy. These costs would inevitably be passed along to consumers in the form of higher prices, resulting a regressive tax hike on those who can least afford it,’ wrote Brent Gardner of Americans for Prosperity and the other signatories.” (Heather Long, “Trump Urges GOP To Consider A 25-Cent Hike In The Gas Tax,” The Washington Post, 2/14/18)

POLITICO: “’I’d Hate To See A New Tax Siphon Off 20 Percent Of The $1,000 Tax Reform Bonuses Back To The Swamp This Year.” … “Similar Statements Came From Groups Including Americans For Tax Reform And Americans For Prosperity.”  “’I’d hate to see a new tax siphon off 20 percent of the $1,000 tax reform bonuses back to the swamp this year,’ said FreedomWorks President Adam Brandon in a statement issued within minutes after the news of Trump’s change of heart. Similar statements came from groups including Americans for Tax Reform and Americans for Prosperity.” (Lauren Gardner, Tayna Snyder And Brianna Gurciullo, “Trump Endorses 25-Cent Gas Tax Hike, Lawmakers Say,” Politico, 2/14/18)

Boston Globe: When Asked By AFP President Tim Phillips, Sen. Cornyn (R-TX), Sen. Tillis (R-NC) And Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) All Said They Were Opposed. “Phillips also quizzed Tillis and the two other lawmakers on the panel, Senator John Cornyn of Texas, the Senate majority whip, and Representative Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, about whether they would oppose a gas tax, which has been floated in Washington by moderate Republicans and even mentioned by Trump himself as a way to pay for an infrastructure plan that he has said he wants to push this year. All three were opposed, in accord with the Koch position.” (Annie Linksey, “Kochs rally donors to spend more to protect business gains,” Boston Globe, 1/28/18)

Axios: “Reality Check: Trump’s Gas Tax Idea Appears Dead On Arrival. … It’s A Regressive Tax And In Republicans’ Minds Would Undo Some Of Working And Middle Class Tax Cuts They Just Passed.” “Reality check: Trump’s gas tax idea appears dead on arrival. Republicans aren’t about to hike taxes for the Trump voters driving their pickup trucks to work every day. It’s a regressive tax and in Republicans’ minds would undo some of working and middle class tax cuts they just passed.” (Jonathan Swan, “Scoop: Trump Endorses 25-Cent Gas Tax Hike,” Axios, 2/14/18)