My Turn: New Hampshire conservatives should support gas tax
Good morning, Sen. Jeanie Forrester.
I have heard your reasons for not supporting the gasoline tax increase.
I cannot support your position on this, and I have been a dedicated Republican voting member for nearly 50 years. It is irresponsible for any legislator or senator to not support raising the gas tax.
Here is why: You mentioned that “poor people” cannot afford this tax increase. This viewpoint is incorrect. Even an increase of up to 12 cents a gallon pales in comparison to the expense of maintaining a car. For each frost heave, for each pothole, who bears the costs of the repairs? Everyone, including the poor.
These expenses, in combination, will far exceed any gas tax increase to be applied to our appalling roads in this state. Further, time is lost in transport because we have to slow down on deteriorating roads.
There was a time in New Hampshire when the roads were among the finest in the country. But inflation, as well as the cost of supplies, manpower and equipment, have increased dramatically.
Roads today not only impact poor people, but businesses and tourism, which is our lifeblood here in New Hampshire.
I took a ride on the Kancamagus recently, and I was totally embarrassed by the number and severity of the frost heaves. This is New Hampshire?
Truckers can say what they want, but the fact is that the road conditions are significantly impacted by the weight of their cargos. They need to pay their fair share as well.
You have a responsibility, Senator, to change your position on increasing the gas tax.
We the people have a right to health, safety and welfare. This is a constitutional issue. You need to explain that this road tax will help minimize the car repairs, which justifies this tax increase.
I am a strong believer in user tax. You use the roads, you need to share in the cost of using these roads.
Senator, my question to you is this: What would you say to a family who lost loved ones in a bridge collapse? And think about the lawsuits – all to save a mere 12 cents on the gas tax.
As a citizen of responsibility, I ask you, Senator, to go with the original plan of increasing the gas tax up to 12 cents a gallon. There is bipartisan support for this, and it is faithful to conservative principles.
It would conserve our roads and our economy and that, my good Senator, is real conservatism.
And, most important, you would be fulfilling your responsibility to the health, safety and welfare of your constituents and their guests.
(Robert T. Joseph Jr. lives in New Hampton.)