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Taxpayers Support Gas Tax Relief, Earmark Moratorium
May 13, 2008
The Honorable Paul Ryan
Dear Representative Ryan:
On behalf of the 362,000 members of the National Taxpayers Union, I write in strong support of your "Gas Tax Relief and Earmark Moratorium Act," H.R. 5995. This bill would suspend the federal gas tax while imposing a moratorium on Congressional earmarks. The legislation would provide hard-working Americans with a modicum of relief at the pump without impacting the government's overall fiscal position.
With crude oil selling at over $120 per barrel and retail gasoline prices at or near $4.00 per gallon in many areas, family budgets are feeling the squeeze. By suspending the 18.4-cent-per-gallon federal gas tax, Congress can take action today to lower prices at the pump. This could prove particularly helpful to long-haul truckers, who could save $50 or more on each fill-up. Your bill could end up saving consumers $9 billion in tax payments from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Instead of suspending the tax and replacing it with some other harmful revenue-raising measure, H.R. 5995 focuses on reducing wasteful expenditures to "pay for" the "lost" revenue. The bill would impose an immediate moratorium on earmark spending and would establish a Joint Select Committee to recommend reforms to the process.
This move would save $14.8 billion, more than offsetting the reduction in revenue from a gas tax suspension. The additional savings produced by an earmark moratorium would then be dedicated to shoring up the Highway Trust Fund, thus eliminating the 2009 shortfall and putting the program in better financial standing.
In a time when the "Do Something Disease" is spreading through the halls of Congress, H.R. 5995 is one of the few pieces of legislation that would provide immediate relief without compromising long-term policy goals. It would help to alleviate two scourges: high gas prices and wasteful earmark spending. We look forward to working with you to pass this important piece of legislation.