On the TTF crisis they have now helped to create, AFP assures us that it is holding something firm or firmly holding or something like that. Look, we all get it that Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is owned by the Koch Brothers -- those Trump hating, Hillary embracing petroleum industry (as in G-A-S-O-L-I-N-E) billionaires.
AFP was on record its whole existence as opposing the job-killing, business destroying Estate Tax -- until the price of ending it was raising the tax on the Koch Brothers' favorite product. Then it was all hands firmly opposed to raising the gas tax. And to this end they have thrown a lot of shit against the wall hoping that some of it stuck. The latest is a parable from New Jersey's answer to Ayn Rand herself.
Look, we don't need silly parables with clunky characters like "Uncle Sam State." What is that about? With a polity that worships political beings as if they were gods on earth, "Uncle Hand State" would be far more appropriate.
Once upon a time, New Jersey's answer to Ayn Rand sold books wholesale to public and private entities. Nothing wrong in that. We love books. But selling a product over time presumably introduces you to the concept of inflation.
The gas tax hasn't kept up with inflation. Since 1988, New Jersey has charged drivers just 14 1/2 cents a gallon of gas to maintain and repair our roads and bridges. The price hasn't gone up in 28 years.
What business doesn't raise its prices in 28 years and survives?
Other states have raised their prices in line with inflation. New York charges over 40 cents a gallon and Pennsylvania over 50 cents. If New Jersey had raised its price little by little, in line with inflation, that 14 1/2 cents would be 29 cents today.
What happened instead was that TTF spending was uncapped in the 1990's and successive administrations extended the life of the debt so they could borrow and spend more. They spent and spent but didn't raise the tax to pay for it. Today it will take all of that 14 1/2 cents and the first 10 1/2 cents of any gas tax increase just to pay the interest on that debt.
That's why the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF) is broke and road and bridge maintenance and repair has stopped. There is simply no money to pay for it. And now, because of the mistakes made in the past, the gas tax or some other tax will have to be raised or roads and bridges will have to close.
The gas tax is a users' tax. President Ronald Reagan believed it was the fairest way of paying for road and bridge maintenance, repair, and construction -- charge the drivers who use it.
The gas tax is also fairer to the taxpayers of New Jersey.
New Jersey is a pass-through state on the busiest travelled corridor in the East Coast. I-95 is the nation's busiest road. 35 percent of those who use New Jersey's roads and bridges are from out-of-state. Instead of raising the gas tax, for years New Jersey has borrowed more and paid more and more interest on that debt. In-effect, New Jersey taxpayers are paying interest on debt in order to subsidize out-of-state drivers who continue to use our roads and bridges at the 1988 price per gallon.
The ONLY way to get out-of-state drivers to pay their fair share is through a users' tax on gasoline. Without an increase in this users' tax -- the gas tax -- local road and bridge maintenance and repair will have to be paid for in higher property taxes. Now who wants that?