Tuesday, September 28, 2010

No Tax Tuesday: Do Taxes Help?

Gasoline taxesImage by vhhammer via Flickr
It is No Tax Tuesday and today I ask the question, "Do taxes help?" A very simple question. 

Let's take gasoline taxes as an example. In California I pay almost $0.64 per gallon of taxes. So, if I put 10 gallons of gasoline in my car that is about $6.40. Many commuters easily do that once a week. We are talking about $25.00 a month in taxes for one driver. Los Angeles easily has 100,000 commuters. Let's do the math. $25.00 X 100,000 = $2,500,000.00! That's probably only a drop of the gasoline taxes Los Angeles citizens pay !

If we pay so much in taxes why are the roads full of pot holes? Why is traffic so bad? Where is all that money going? I repeat my question: Do taxes help? As I understand it, cities have to maintain their own roads. I think the state and federal government is supposed to reallocate funds to states and cities. So, we get to lobby for access to the funds our tax dollars produce. Of course, some feel that they should decide how these funds should be redistributed.  But, money stays in government off the roads. 

My feeling is that for the amount of money I pay for just the gasoline tax I do not receive a fair return on my dollar. The roads are full of potholes. The CHP and local police have to chase lunatics on high speed chases who after doing great bodily harm and crashing into other cars want to sue the law enforcement agencies for use of excessive force and self-serving special interest groups will gladly help in order that they might leach off society too. 

In short, taxes are not really helpful.
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