John Carona and Hank Gilbert hail from different political parties, but they have the same view on transportation: raise those taxes. They want more of our money.
The liberal blog “Eye On Williamson” correctly notes that both Carona (a Republican state senator from Dallas) and Gilbert (a Democratic candidate for governor) want to hike gasoline taxes to pay for more… Well, what they say they want to pay for and what will actually get funded are two different things.
(It should be noted that so far, the only candidate for governor to say no to the gas-tax hike is the incumbent, Rick Perry.)
The great myth out there is that the gasoline tax isn’t bringing in money to the state. Not true. While the gas tax RATE hasn’t been hiked since the early 1990s, it is bringing in more and more revenue each year — up to 6 percent more, year over year — according to state record.
The big problem is how the money is being misspent. First, 25% is sent to public education (a constitutional diversion implemented by the public some 40 years ago). Another 20 percent is diverted by the legislature into all sorts of nice-sounding things, like the Arts Commission, DPS and the AG.
Meanwhile, that money gets flittered away by spending agencies like TxDOT and local spending entities.
As TFR’s Michael Sullivan and others have said repeatedly here and elsewhere, it’s time for all transit and transportation entities to be transparent and auditable. It’s time for them to show how our money is spent in real-time, and how each dollar is used to reduce congestion. No new spending should take place that doesn’t actually go toward proveable congestion relief.
That Carona and Gilbert simply want to hike taxes, and not address the diversions and misspending, says a lot about their governing philosophy.
Some people complain there isn’t enough bipartisanship. But with the bipartisanship of Carona and Gilbert, Texas’ taxpayers will be driven into the ground.