Gas Tax Hike on the Way for NM Motorists?

The headline in today’s Albuquerque Journal (subscription required) says it all, the panel of legislators and other community leaders is going to recommend an increase in New Mexico’s gas tax. While any tax hike is completely unnecessary, the fact that the panel’s recommendation will likely be to raise the tax by 6 percent a year— or about 1.3 cents a year for the first decade, is especially troubling. The last thing New Mexicans need is tax hikes on autopilot, thus enabling our elected officials to reach their hands deeper into our pockets every year, but without having to put themselves on the line as having voted for higher taxes….a “win-win” if you are a weak-kneed legislator, but a “lose-lose” if you drive a car, run a business, or care about limited government.
No other state has an open-ended, ongoing tax hike like what this task force is proposing. After all, when is enough, enough?
The fact is, as I pointed out in the Journal yesterday, any effort to resolve this so-called “crisis” must begin with scaling back the Rail Runner. I offer a few additional ideas like private toll roads and repeal of New Mexico’s little Davis-Bacon law as well.
Ultimately, with spending increasing rapidly in recent years, any crisis is the result of fiscal irresponsibility and our elected officials must take responsibility for their fiscal mismanagement.