Conservative Index Add
pagetitle

Tuesday, August 20th, 2019Last Update: Wednesday, August 7th, 2019 10:21:15 AM

No to Gas Tax Increase

By: Jason Murphey

You may have recently seen news stories describing the impending introduction of a gas tax increase. Those who suggest Oklahoma should increase the gas tax are using the following reasoning: “Oklahoma has the one of the lowest state-level gas taxes in the country and this justifies an increase.”

I don’t think this flawed logic will have its desired effect. Several years ago, the proponents of an increase took their tax hike effort to a vote of the people and it was overwhelmingly rejected.

I think this is because Oklahoma voters know the truth. While Oklahoma’s gas tax may be less than other states, Oklahoma’s citizens are forced to pay for roads and bridges through a punitive and overlapping system of taxes and user fees.

Oklahomans pay their taxes for roads and bridges through the gas tax and confiscatory motor vehicle registration fees and taxes, the latter of which are frequently raided for non-transportation purposes.

They pay user fees each time they use part of the 606-mile state turnpike system. The massive turnpike system ranks Oklahoma second in the nation in terms of turnpike miles. In fact, 14% of all Oklahoma state highway miles are classified as toll roads.

Many Oklahoma despise this form of double-assessment. They know it’s wrong – especially when Oklahoma’s leaders have long raided the motor vehicle funds for non-transportation related purposes.

Thus, the flawed logic of the premise that we should raise taxes because Oklahoma’s gas tax isn’t as high as some of the other states.

Secondly, it’s important to recognize that there’s nothing wrong with having a lower tax rate than other states. In fact, our state government should aspire to meet the core purposes of government by delivering a high quality product at a lower cost.

Why shouldn’t we be the best? Those who attempt to increase taxes are waving the white flag and telling the voters, “We cannot be exceptional. We have to tax and spend just as much, if not more, than other governments.”

As a taxpayer, I want my elected leaders to aspire for exceptionalism. I want them to use our tax dollars more effectively and wisely than governments in other parts of the country. I want them to be more innovative than the others. Is exceptionalism too much to ask from Oklahoma’s leaders?

Finally, those who ask for the increase may point to the recent downturn in the energy sector and the ensuing reduction in funds available for the Legislature to appropriate. They want to give the Legislature more money to work with during upcoming years.

This logic suggests the likely intent of state leaders to channel the tax increase away from roads and bridges and to the general government fund.

Oklahomans have long detested the practice by which their state government raids transportation taxes for other purposes. They are not likely to appreciate even more of this.

I do not believe the tax increase will move forward, but I will certainly vote “No” if it should make it to the House floor for a vote.

State Representative Jason Murphey (R-Guthrie) represents House District 31. He may be reached via e-mail at: Jason.Murphey@hd31.org

About Jason Murphey

Jason Murphey was a member of Oklahoma House of Representatives and was term-limited in 2018. He scored a perfect 100% score on the Oklahoma Conservative Index for each of 12 years he served.

Other Articles By Jason Murphey

Stopping the Revolving Door

It was quite the surreal moment in the Oklahoma House of Representatives! As the 2018 legislative...

My Criteria for Voting on Legislative Proposals

Consider the following statement one might hear if they stay around the capitol very long: If...

The Need to Transform the Legislative Process

It is the time of year when legislators file legislation for the next session. Every so often I feel...

The New Ideology of the Legislature

I will detail here the chain of events that transformed what I initially believed could be the best...

Big Government Groundhog Day

State officials are continuing to consider an array of tax and fee increases. I instinctively know...

No to Gas Tax Increase

You may have recently seen news stories describing the impending introduction of a gas tax increase....

Giving Away Absolute Power For One Year

Many taxpayers believe the Legislature operates as described in American Government class. They...

Other Constitution Columnists

Theodore King

The Federal Page for Summer 2019
Equality Act of 2019Elections have consequences. The midterms last fall brought Democrats into...

Tim Bakamjian

Hamilton Is Coming, But Im Not Going
Hamilton the smash-hit Broadway musical is coming to Oklahoma. A whopping 48 shows are scheduled...

Steve Byas

The Lesson of David Boren
I remember when David Boren first emerged on the political scene in Oklahoma, running a long-shot...

Linda Murphy

Oklahoma Citys LGBTQ+ Pride Alliance and K-12 Grade Students Curriculum
On June 19, the Oklahoma Gazette published their weekly edition with a beautiful rainbow on the...

John Michener

Governor Stitt, Repent With Us
Repentance: a complete change of direction that involves a conscious turning away from attitudes,...

David Deming

Why an OU Presidency Failed
David Boren was a hard act to follow. But James Galloglys appointment as President of the University...

In The News

Constitution Staff

Fiscal Year Gross Receipts to the State Treasury
Gross Receipts to the Treasury for both the month of June and Fiscal Year 2019 indicate ongoing...

Constitution Staff

EPIC Charter Schools Under Attack
This summer there was great attention focused on EPIC Charter Schools in Oklahoma. The mostly online...

Constitution Staff

Signature Gathering on Medicaid Initiative Petition Begins
On July 31, Oklahomans Decide Healthcare began gathering signatures on an initiative petition to...

Constitution Staff

Oklahoma Legislature Vote to Diminish Columbus
Senate Bill 111, passed by the Oklahoma Legislature and was signed by the governor, is a great...

Constitution Staff

Legislators Rated
The Oklahoma Constitution presents the 41st annual Oklahoma Conservative Index, rating our state...

Constitution Columnists

Theodore King

The Federal Page for Summer 2019
Equality Act of 2019Elections have consequences. The midterms last fall brought Democrats into...

Tim Bakamjian

Hamilton Is Coming, But Im Not Going
Hamilton the smash-hit Broadway musical is coming to Oklahoma. A whopping 48 shows are scheduled...

Steve Byas

The Lesson of David Boren
I remember when David Boren first emerged on the political scene in Oklahoma, running a long-shot...

© 2001 - 2009 The Oklahoma Constitution, all rights reserved.
Contact the Oklahoma Constitution by calling 405-366-1125 or emailing okconsti@aol.com
Content Management System (CMS) provided by WebTeks CMS.