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An Open Letter to the President and Congress: Taxpayers Oppose Hike in the Federal Gas Tax

August 21, 2007

Dear President Bush and Members of Congress:

On behalf of the millions of taxpayers represented by our respective organizations, we write in opposition to proposals that would increase the existing 18.4 cent-per-gallon federal excise tax on gasoline.

One legislative plan promoted by Representative James Oberstar would temporarily increase the federal gas tax by 5 cents per gallon to fund bridge repair around the country. We are extremely concerned that this "temporary" tax increase would turn into a permanent one. After all, President George H.W. Bush's "temporary" gas tax increase of 5 cents per gallon in 1990 never went away as promised, while lawmakers "repurposed President Clinton's 4.3 cent-per-gallon hike when the budget seemed headed toward a surplus.

Proponents of a federal gas tax increase insist that few would even notice the change in their fuel bills. In reality, a 5 cent-per-gallon jump would represent a steep 27 percent tax hike over the current rate and cost American motorists an estimated $25 billion over the next three years. Combined with state gas taxes, many motorists would pay over $7.50 in taxes for the average fill-up. This is a substantial burden on families trying to make ends meet and only makes gas prices harder to stomach. Given high energy costs, now is the time to give taxpayers a lighter - not a heavier - gas tax burden.

We also reject the notion that there isn't enough money available for infrastructure upkeep. Both the federal and state governments have made record levels of transportation money available. The 2005 Highway Bill increased related funding by 42 percent, to a record $286.5 billion. It also contained 6,500 earmarks totaling 9 percent of the bill's cost. The Fiscal Year 2008 Transportation, Housing & Urban Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill contained 1,434 earmarks worth over $2.2 billion. This is money that could have been directed to real need-based priorities determined by transportation experts. Instead, it was handed out to politically connected allies. Congress's bad habit of earmarking has siphoned money away from core repair functions and into questionable projects. This reckless binge should be ended before lawmakers even consider raising gas taxes by a single penny.

Instead of resorting so readily to tax hikes, Congress and the Executive Branch should conduct a review to determine which transportation projects are really worth funding and which are unnecessary. Elected officials should not be feeding more revenues into the gears of an ever-faster spending machine, and we urge you to oppose any federal gas tax hike.


John Berthoud
National Taxpayers Union
Dane vonBreichenruchardt
US Bill of Rights Foundation
Pat Toomey
Club for Growth
Clay Barclay
Young Republican National Federation
Thomas Schatz
Council for Citizens Against Government Waste
Khaled Saffuri
Islamic Free Market Institute
Grover Norquist
Americans for Tax Reform
William Westmiller
Republican Liberty Caucus
David Keene
American Conservative Union
Chuck Muth
Citizen Outreach
Tim Phillips
Americans for Prosperity
Eunie Smith
Eagle Forum of Alabama
Dick Patten
American Family Business Institute
Dominic M. Calabro
Florida TaxWatch, Inc.
Jeffrey Mazzella
Center for Individual Freedom
Richard O. Rowland
Grassroot Institute of Hawaii
Tom McClusky
Family Research Council
Tom Hoefling
Idahoans for Tax Reform
Ryan Ellis
American Shareholders Association
Greg Blankenship
Illinois Policy Institute
Patrick Sammon
Log Cabin Republicans
Curt Smith
Indiana Family Institute
William Wilson
Americans for Limited Government
David M. Stanley
Iowans for Tax Relief
Leroy Watson
National Grange
Kevin McLaughlin
Iowans for Discounted Taxes
Karl Peterjohn
Kansas Taxpayers Network
Bud Miller
Alexandria Taxpayers United
Richard Falknor
Maryland Taxpayers Association, Inc.
Richard Parins
Brown County Taxpayers Association
Phil Krinkie
Taxpayers League of Minnesota
Jim Babka, Inc.
Henry Kriegel
Montanans for Tax Reform
Keith L. Runyon
Concerned United Taxpayers
Doug Kagan
Nebraska Taxpayers for Freedom
Ken Hambrick
Alliance of Contra Costa Taxpayers

Paul J. Gessing
Rio Grande Foundation

Kris Hunt
Contra Costa Taxpayers Association
Matthew F. Guilbault
New York State Taxpayers Union
Kurt E. Hahn
Central Solano Citizen/Taxpayer Group
Bill Sizemore
Oregon Taxpayers United
Robert L. Reed
American Spirit Enterprises Inc.
Jason Williams
Taxpayer Association of Oregon
Rose Bogaert
Wayne County Taxpayers Association, Inc.
Matt Evans
Americans for Prosperity - Oregon
Joe Armendariz
Santa Barbara County Taxpayers Association
David Baldinger
Pennsylvania Taxpayers Cyber Coalition
Tim Wise
Arlington County Taxpayers Association
Ben Cunningham
Tennessee Tax Revolt
Richard Rider
San Diego Tax Fighters
John Taylor
Virginia Institute for Public Policy
Matthew A. Paulsen
Bethel Action Committee
Ray Wilson
Kalamazoo County Taxpayers Association
Joel Sears
York County Taxpayers Council
Douglas Bruce
Active Citizens Together
Rick Hendrix
Prince William Taxpayers Alliance

Signatories since August 21st
Steve Voeller
Arizona Free Enterprise Club
Gary Palmer and Michael Ciamarra
Alabama Policy Institute
Bill Whipple
Secure America's Future Economy
Donald Weaver
South Carolina Association of Taxpayers