Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Gas Tax

Governor Patrick has proposed a 19 cents increase in the state's gasoline tax.

This has to be one of the stupidest things the Governor has come up with. The Governor states that the tax increase will cost the average motorist the equivalent of a large cup of coffee a week, less than 8 dollars a month.

Personally, I have to fill up between 2 to 3 times a week. I usually end up putting 12 gallons of gas in the tank. So that would mean I would have to pay an additional $2.28 per tank or between $4.56 and $6.84 a week. In my household we also have a second vehicle that gets filled up once a week. It takes about 16 gallons to fill. The new tax will cost me and extra $3.04 to fill that vehicle.

Now, Lefty is not destitute, but he's not rich either. I don't have all the luxuries I would like to have but I'm not starving. Still, if you take between $7 and $10 dollars out of my pocket every week I'm going to feel it. Hell everything else has been going up in price and everyone has had to find ways to stretch their income just a little bit more. The dropping gas prices have been a great relief but I keep wondering what happens when they go up? Think about that and then add .19 cents a gallon!

I think the Governor and most of our elected officials have long forgotten, (if they ever knew), what it's like to live paycheck to paycheck. Maybe if you're pulling in a 6 digit salary coffee money is rather meaningless, but around here, in Fall River, going for a cup of coffee is a small luxury!

Think about the salaries our elected officials earn. The median income for a household in Fall River is $29,014, in Worcester it's $35,623, New Bedford - $27,569. If this is your household income, (and family incomes are not much higher!) you're going to feel that pinch!

I think it's an overused expression, but this really is a tax on the poor. This is going to hurt those who can least afford it. Tell the guy who is driving all over the place trying to get a job that he won't miss the extra money now going in his gas tank. It's only coffee money! I'm sure the owners of coffee shops love hearing that one. How many coffee shops are already seeing a decline in sales as people continue to tighten their belt.

I understand we need to do something about our crumbling infrastructure, but tell the Governor not to forget our crumbling economy.

6 comments:

shamrock said...

This isn't completely relevant but it does involve gas ...and taxes I suppose.

My friend and I were at the full service gas station on Davol St. a few days ago. The guy in front of us got $2.00 worth of gas which was kind of sad. Luckily it turned around for us and we got to laugh when the guy then bought a $7.00+ pack of cigarettes and a cigar. I guess people have their priorities.

Talia said...

Lefty, just out of curiosity are you driving long distances to work or do you have a large SUV or truck?

You statement of filling up 2-3 times per week seems excessive to me and perhaps, as a suggestion, you should think about getting a more gas-efficient car.

All in all, I am not opposed to a .19 gas tax. All in all, there needs to be a fundamental shift in how people USE gasoline in this country. Gasoline prices fluctuate, it was $4.00/gallon less then a year ago, and to presume that gasoline prices will remain steady is just plain foolish.

I guess what I am stating is that if you can't afford .19cents more per gallon, then get a more fuel efficient car or ride the bus. The problem isn't with the PRICE of gas, it is with our dependence upon it. If people don't want their paycheck to be ruled by the pumps, then stop bitching and do something about it...BUY a HYBRID!

Lefty said...

Talia,

I don't have a truck or SUV and the car I drive can pull 31MPG.

I agree the problem is on dependence and use. However the reality for most of us in Fall River is if you want or need a good paying job you have to commute. Unemployment in our city is, I think, over 12%, in Rhode Island it is over 10%. So I find myself commuting, further than I've ever had to before. (The signs up a bad economy and I'm just glad to be working)

It's easy to say take a bus, but not always practical. It's easy to say buy a more fuel effecient car or to get a hybrid. The reality is Buses don't always run when and where you need them to and if money is tight how do you go out and BUY something more fuel effecient? Also that purchase probably wouldn't save you any money at all. Hybrids in general are a lousy return in investment few achieve high enough MPG to pay for the premuim price you have to pay to get one!

If the Governor's proposal was more reasonable I wouldn't have much of an issue.It's a pretty big jump and I think he is understating the impact on purpose.

Anonymous said...

Talia,

Isn't that nice. We should all go out and buy Hybrid cars, and sit in circles together and sing Kumbaya. Come on, get serious. Most people can't afford hybrids, and they aren't economically viable anyhow.

Who are you to just assume that Lefty is out driving an SUV? Where do you come off with that air of arrogance? People in Fall River are really hurting. Now is not the time for a gas tax. Fall River is not the place to tax. We should raise the tolls in Boston. The real problem is that all the jobs are in the Boston and Cambridge area. All of the big money to bring jobs in goes to the 128 belt. Boston completely ignores Fall River and other cities like us. How can they expect us to pay hikes in taxes, if they don't give us a fighting chance at the good jobs?

Talia said...

I agree that Hybrid cars are pricey but to assume that gas prices will remain constant is just plain foolish. Gas is a limited commodity and its prices will ALWAYS fluctuate. Who knows what the price of gas will be 1 year from now or even 6 months?!?!?! And I am so sick and tired of the complaint that "Boston ignores Fall River.." Wah Wah Wah! If Fall River elected competent representatives INSTEAD of reelecting the same boobs over and over again, we wouldn't have this problem. Fall River GETS EXACTLY WHAT THEY VOTE FOR and from the last elections, apparently they DON'T WANT CHANGE. But I digress....

To complain about a 19cent gas hike in the short term is to IGNORE the real LONG-TERM problem...Oil Dependency.

A few years ago I lived overseas from 2003-2004 and I was amazed at what other countries are doing to offset their dependency on oil, and I propose that these things could work not just in FR, but for all of Mass/USA.

1. Impose an ENGINE Tax: several European countries impose an ANNUAL tax based upon the size of your engine. If you drive a hummer or truck (and the truck isn't for work-related use) citizens had to pay an extra 2,000-4,000 EUROS per year. Think about what that extra money could do to FR? Fix roads? Repair bridges.....

2. Invest in more green technology for public transport. In New Zealand, cities there run mostly FULLY ELECTRIC BUSES. What does this mean? Bus rides are cheap as the cities don't have to raise bus tickets based upon the cost of fuel. Because they can keep costs at a minimum, they can offer and RUN more bus routes.

All I am trying to say is that instead of worrying over the cost of fuel at the pumps...what can we all do to solve this problem? How can we become less fuel-dependent?

Lefty said...

Talia,

You make many good points and many that I agree with however to say:

"To complain about a 19cent gas hike in the short term is to IGNORE the real LONG-TERM problem...Oil Dependency."

misses the point of the post completely. This has nothing to do with oil dependency. This has everything to do with the Governor trying to raise revenue. If we all drove mopeds, using less oil & gas and decreasing his projected revenues he would just raise the taxes on something else.

My issue here is that this gas tax will be much more of a burden to low income communities like Fall River. In such tough economic times I find this irresponsible. Also the Governor is proposing this tax without first laying down concrete plans to streamline an already bloated and inefficient system. So now while I, and many others struggle with our day to day lives we should pay more for the same ol' same ol'?