Personal Liberty Poll
With the economy improving and an ambitious infrastructure plan on the White House agenda, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is beginning to make its case for a hefty increase in fuel taxes.
According to Chamber President Tom Donohue, the group is looking to hike the gas tax by 25 cents a gallon over the next five years. Though the organization plans to ask the Trump administration and Congress for a gradual increase to ease pushback, it would also support a one-time hike in the full amount.
“Five cents [per year] over five years, but if we can get it all in the beginning, we’d take it. It’s simpler; you do it once,” Donohue told reporters. “You begin to accrue and build up a sock of money which you’re going to need for these projects.”
Because the gas tax hasn’t been increased since 1993, the proposal likely faces an uphill battle. But Donohue says the Chamber has new allies in the fight.
“I’ve been pushing this for a long, long time, but now gangs of people are pushing it,” he said in an interview.
And because President Trump is eager to fund an ambitious infrastructure plan, the White House could play a key role in securing the increase.
As reported by The Washington Post:
In private meetings, Trump has floated the idea of raising the federal gas tax by as much as 50 cents per gallon but received a chilly reception to that idea, particularly from Republican lawmakers. Still, aides say, the idea of an increase hasn’t been taken off the table.
As envisioned by the chamber, the 25-cent increase would be applied to the current taxes of 18.4 cents per gallon for gasoline and 24.4 cents per gallon for diesel fuel. It is estimated that the increased levy would raise more than $375 billion over the coming decade, chamber staff members said.
That is significantly more than the White House has suggested that the government should pump into an infrastructure initiative. Administration officials have said publicly for months that they think that $200 billion in additional federal money could spur at least $800 billion more spending by state and local governments and the private sector.
“We just got a new tax bill for the first time in 31 years,” Donohue said. “We’re making some significant changes in regulatory reform. We’ve got a president — everybody’s got all their own views about him and what he stands for and all that — but the guy’s getting stuff done . . . and he’s a builder. I think we can get some help here.”