Sunday, October 23, 2011

Maryland Transportation Trust Fund (Or Why I Hate Politicians)

crossing the ChesapeakeImage via WikipediaHave I mentioned lately how much I hate politicians?  I have a particularly strong hatred for Democrats, but to be perfectly honest, I find most of them to be loathsome individuals.  It is just that I consider Republicans to be the lesser of two evils.  After all, one of the biggest lies is, "I am from the government, and I am here to help."

My disdain for politicians goes back to my high school days.  In my senior year of high school, my girlfriend's sister arranged for some local county politician to be in our homecoming parade.  Somehow, I was shanghaied into driving this guy up to the VFW so he could give a speech there after the parade.  I was ashamed that my 68 Mustang was now sullied by this guy.

With my particular distaste of Democrats, it is tough living in a state like Maryland.  The Democrats pretty much have a stranglehold on state politics.  Sure, I suppose that I could move to a more conservative leaning state, but it really isn't that practical.  My job and our families are here, and with my son's school, we pretty much have to stay here for at least a few more years.

You know how the Democrats are always harping about wanting to help out the little guy?  So why is it that just about everything they do actually ends up hurting the little guy.  Here is an example of what is happening here in Maryland.  Maryland is currently facing a big shortfall in the transportation trust fund.  The primary reason is that the Democrats have consistently raided the trust fund to pay for other obligations.

Here are some of the proposals that the state has come up with in order to replenish the fund.  First was a proposal to increase the cost of tolls through the state.  The toll to cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge has been $2.50.  Originally they proposed doubling the toll to $5 this year, and $8 in 2013.  They finally settled for increasing it to $4 this year, and $6 in 2013.  While not as bad as originally proposed, it is still a significant increase for those of us who use the bridge and are middle or lower incomes.

But it doesn't end there.  They have more proposals in the works.  First off is an increase in the gasoline tax the state collect.  Currently, that stands at 23.5 cents per gallon which makes Maryland right in the middle of all states.  That isn't good enough for Maryland, who wants to enter the top 10 by raising the gasoline tax by 15 cents per gallon over the next three years.  Another regressive tax that hurts the little guy more than anybody else.

It is interesting, if not ironic, to listen to Barack Obama and other Democrats demonize the oil companies.  Much like with tobacco, the federal and state governments make more money off the sale of gasoline than the oil companies do.  Exxon has stated they make about 3 cents on a gallon of gas.  The local service station makes about a dime.  The federal government makes 18.4 cents per gallon, not to mention the royalties the government receives from drilling leases.

And like the pitchman in just about every infomercial out there, "But wait, there's more!"  In addition to raising the gas tax, they are looking at raising other fees.  One proposal is to raise vehicle registration fees by 50%.  Another is to DOUBLE the fee to have your car's emissions tested.  Other miscellaneous fees could be doubled as well.  Again, all of these hurt the very people the Democrats claim to want to help.

I liken the raiding of Maryland's transportation trust fund to the federal government's raiding of the social security trust fund.  I place most of the blame on the Democrats in both cases.  In Maryland, it is clearly on the Democrats since they constantly control the state, and in Congress, the Democrats are usually the ones in charge in Congress, though to be honest there is plenty of blame on both sides.  Let's be honest, when it comes to politicians and trust funds, there is no trust.
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