Feds should raise gas tax, and cut New York in for more
Feds should raise gas tax, and cut New York in for more
Were I elected, I would vote to raise gasoline taxes.
Since a Gallup poll revealed that two-thirds of Americans oppose this idea, there’s no fear I’d be elected. However, I am in good company, at least on a national level. Former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood suggests we raise the present federal tax of eight cents per gallon by 10 cents, then index future raises to the cost of living.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce president Tom Donahue said we only derive $30 billion a year by this federal tax. LaHood thinks we need at least $500 billion a year just to fix the existing highway system.
Both cite that this eight-cent-a-gallon tax has been in place for 20 years, probably the only tax which has not been raised during that time.
In the meantime, cars are achieving ever-higher miles per gallon. Also facing us are electric and hybrid autos, which will shrink the use of gasoline — surely good for the consumer and the environment, but disastrous for the roads we travel.
New York state has one of the lowest state gasoline taxes, 8.1 cents per gallon. Only oil-producing states have lower rates. However, each gallon is really taxed 69.45 cents a gallon, which includes the excise tax as well as items like the 17.8 cents state petroleum business tax, which is passed onto the customer. Since the oil companies net $2.88 a gallon, this suggests each gallon is taxed at 24 percent.
From the state’s 2007 Statistical Yearbook, I saw that during the 25 years between 1981 and 2006, the revenue from all driving-related fees rose 394 percent. During the same period, gasoline tax revenue fell 9.7 percent.
What is the purpose of a gasoline tax in the first place? It is meant to be used to maintain the roads and bridges. Albany’s potholes and the state’s [failing] bridges warn that the state, if not the federal government, is not gathering enough money. New York state also seems to be slighted by the feds, since only 10.4 percent of the state’s road budget is covered by the national gas tax. Rhode Island gets 34.2 percent for this work; Iowa, 34.4 [percent]. The national average is 18.6 percent.
Are our congressmen working for us or for Iowa?
Obama’s Iran gambit certainly worth a try
I support President Obama’s six-month interim agreement with Iran because it is the best option available for blunting Iran’s progress toward obtaining a nuclear weapon.
Hard-hitting economic sanctions have brought Iran to the negotiating table, so why not take advantage of this opportunity to pursue diplomacy in concert with all major nations and the United Nations to achieve our objective? The military option, which remains on the table, can only lead to a senseless war in the Middle East, with terrible humanitarian and economic consequences. Tougher sanctions also remain on the table.
My opinion resides in the belief that the Iranian leadership is not crazy and will not initiate a nuclear exchange with Israel even if they have a nuclear weapon. Furthermore, the American people are sick of war, particularly one which will not be short and ultimately very costly.
The possibility that Iran will not negotiate in good faith has been raised in Congress, by pro-war lobbyists and some journalists. While it is reasonable to raise this possibility, it is worth remembering some recent historical successes by presidents negotiating with our enemies.
President Nixon opened up communist China through a well-timed negotiation, and President Kennedy solved the Cuban missile crisis by negotiating the removal of nuclear missiles from Cuba with the communist Soviet Union during the Cold War. President Eisenhower was able to negotiate an enduring truce to the Korean War and avoided getting sucked into a war in Vietnam. President Reagan negotiated the INF treaty, decreasing the nuclear arsenals of the U.S. and Soviet Union. And it is worth noting that the North Korean leadership, which possesses nuclear weapons, has thus far proved sane enough not to use them.
Finally, we should take into account the credibility of the president’s critics. Republican carping cannot be taken seriously since they routinely find fault with everything the president does and rarely produce a credible alternative. Furthermore, Congress as a whole has proved itself so incompetent that its public favorability rating currently resides in the single digits.
Whatever may be one’s regard for the president’s competence, he remains our best hope for avoiding war and preventing an Iran with nuclear weapons.
Contraceptives hurt, rather than protect, women
Re “Health act must continue to cover contraception” [Dec. 3 letter]: The writer states the Supreme Court’s decision to hear this challenge presents a danger to women.
The word contraception defines its purpose — contra meaning against. Women have been misled into thinking they have total control over their bodies with contraception. The results are destruction of human embryos, as women who delay childbearing too long try desperately to get pregnant.
The United States has the highest incidence of sexually transmitted diseases in the Western World. The World Health Organization officially classified oral contraceptives as Group 1 carcinogens. The pill seeks to change hormone levels in women and has been proven to cause breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
Side effects of contraception is that pregnancy is considered a disease and children are undesirable and inconvenient. There are side effects to selfish and destructive behavior which results in promiscuity, abortion and destruction of the family.
Contraceptives have given proponents billions of dollars’ profit to pharmaceutical companies and their pro-abortion liberal supporters. Contraceptions are a danger to woman and society.
Democratic monopoly the big problem in Sch’dy
The Dec. 1 piece, “How can Mootooveren be trusted?” was a long and windy affair of 15 paragraphs. The subject simply required a few words: “He shouldn’t be trusted as a city councilman.”
Sadly, we have come to distrust most politicians, and his behavior does not warrant this much newsprint. More significant is the fact that most quoted Democratic politicians did not deem this issue a significant problem, just as they did not consider their campaign remarks during the county election vile, irresponsible and totally inappropriate.
The same negative words could be best applied to the county’s economic situation, which has been fostered by Democratic legislators for over a decade. Enough silence about unacceptable issues and enough nonsense in general, e.g. the $12.5 million nursing home subsidy and tax-cap override a year ago.
Yes, I am angry enough to wail against the party which has been the long-standing albatross of Schenectady city and county, and not some individual who clearly exemplifies the absent moral standards of the unchallenged party in power, a glaring fact related to the fundamental issues of voters who are apathetic and uninformed.
Lyle W. Barlyn
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