United States Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) has been supportive of a bill that was drafted alongside Senator Chris Murphy (D- Mass.), to establish an increase in the federal gas tax. This would result in the gas tax around the country going up by twelve cents a gallon over the next two years. The bill would also make the gas tax go up accordingly based on the inflation rate within the country.
Corker’s tax hike proposal claims to be a measure towards helping to replenish the funds needed for building and maintaining highways around the country. With the federal government wasting billions of dollars a year, this is nothing more than political rhetoric that is going to hurt the people of Tennessee just as they are getting a break in terms of gas prices for a change. (Story continues below image)
Public Transit Services Could Be Hurt
From the MATA system in Memphis to KAT in Knoxville and CARTA in Chattanooga, a real potential for many public transit services around the state to be dramatically harmed by the gas tax exists. Public transit services will have to bear with the brunt of more expenses due to the tax hike to keep their functions operational, thus forcing them to either increase their rates, or stop certain routes or services. The gas tax is only going to hurt this form of Tennessee transit that helps many travelers get to and from their destinations on a daily basis.
Inflation Is Unpredictable
The fact that Corker’s plan would entail increases in the future based on inflation is a real call for concern. While inflation has remained at the 2-3% range each year, the risk of the rate increasing dramatically will be a call for concern. If serious events like the 5% inflation in 1990 or even the nearly 14% inflation of 1980 ever happen again, then the people of Tennessee will be in for a rude awakening at the pump even well after inflation starts to get back to its normal rate.
The Public Needs A Break Today
Gas prices have fallen below two dollars per gallon in Tennessee with some spots in the Nashville area reporting prices closer to $1.80. If gas prices begin to creep up due to Corker’s new tax law, then the potential for Tennesseans to ever return to paying a reasonable amount of money for gas in the future will all but disappear.
Corker’s push to raise taxes on the entire country is going to hurt many people, but will be especially detrimental to Tennesseans. What happened to the days when Republicans were against tax hikes?