Councilor Isaac Benton Issues Gas Tax Hike Defense

The Rio Grande Foundation has been leading the charge against Councilor Isaac Benton’s proposed Albuquerque gas tax. (You can sign our petition here)

He knows there is significant public opposition to yet another local tax hike and City Council has delayed a final vote on the issue until Monday, June 19. So, he penned an article for the Albuquerque Journal that laid out his position. His arguments are enlightening.

1) There is a minor disagreement over math. The exact rate charged in New Mexico is trivial. The federal rate is 18.4 cents while the state rate is 17 cents. But wikipedia lists a different combined rate.

2) It (the gas tax) is worth it. In Benton’s view, virtually anything that transfers money from your pockets to government coffers is “worth it.” This is obviously purely subjective.

3) See point 2. Benton touts the money government would have as a result of this tax, but dismisses the cost to individuals and families.

4) Benton wants to do whatever he can to distance the gas tax from the unpopular ART (which he supported). Even if no money from this tax is allocated directly to ART, it will free up resources that would otherwise be used on roads that can in turn be used for ART. Money is fungible.

5) Compliance with ADA: his argument would be much more convincing if he outlined specific legal issues the City faced due to ADA non-compliance. I have heard of nothing.

6) Administration and compliance eating up 4.7% of total tax collections is a significant amount.

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