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Letter: What did the state do with the gas taxes we already paid?

By my count Friday’s editorial, “Pay for infrastructure? We can’t afford not to,” was the Monitor’s second editorial to come out strongly in favor of the proposed increase in gas taxes. Mike Marland’s accompanying cartoon added his sentiment that anyone opposing the tax is deranged or hysterical. You’ve missed the point.

The proposal is not a new law, where some genius realized taxing gas can be used to pay for infrastructure. New Hampshire’s gas tax has been around for a long, long time, and is supposed to be used for – yes – infrastructure.

Before we get fleeced for even higher gas taxes, I, like many, want to know: Why does the state need more? Have we built new highways or bridges? Or has the state simply squandered the considerable taxes we already pay for infrastructure on other things, leaving us with crumbling roads and unusable bridges?

What did they do with the taxes they already collected for infrastructure?

BRIAN TAUSCHER

Concord

First and foremost, don't put too much stock in what Marland does, he has the bully pulpit to express his political beliefs without any competing views. He is a "cartoonist" and not a very good one. The issue is that every dime gets added to the general fund and any new taxes will as well. That means more taxes collected under the guise of improving the infrastructure and being handed out as entitlements and dependency programs.

The Fuel Tax money was, originally, supposed to be in a sequestered account and used only for bridge, road and rest area maintenance/repairs/improvements. Then, these monies were moved to the General Fund. Now, it gets a little fuzzy. The Monitor reported that Fuel Tax money was used by all manner of State depts including Safety and HHS. This tax needs to be, once again, placed in a sequestered account. After a period of assessment, we can ascertain the sufficiency of the Fuel Tax.

I am sure if you are really interested in where you tax money is going, there are yearly dept. budget reports that can be read by citizens on line. All state budgets can be read by citizens just like town budgets, but I am sure that is not really why you asked the question. Do you complain when your roads are plowed or salted in the middle of the night so you can get to work? Everything needs maintenance, stop asking dumb questions and find out for yourself.

Stop asking dumb questions and find out for yourself? A bit hypocritical here when the left has no clue where the money is going from WA. Never question why we have not had a budget, or how much money was sunk into green energy companies and how many of the companies failed. Or how about that Health Plan that had to be passed so folks could find out what is in it?Did GM pay back the loan and open up new plants in the US to build cars? Yeah the left is really informed.

The Hill [Washington, DC], by Pete Kasperowicz Original Article Posted By: KarenJ1- 3/19/2013 1:29:22 PM Post Reply Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) on Tuesday said Congress needs to pass legislation increasing the federal gasoline tax in order to pay for increased and ongoing demands on U.S. infrastructure.....more from the tax and spend democrats

So we are suppose to praise folks for doing their job Tillie? When I last checked it was the duty of someone who plowed our roads to do exactly that. That is what we pay them for, and that job requires plowing sometimes in the wee hours of the morning. Have we sunk so low that anytime anybody does their job we are thrilled and grateful? It is getting to the point that we are are suppose to lower our standards and be greatful that folks actually do the jobs they are paid for by the taxpayers. And those of us in the real world, know that if we do not perform our jobs on a certain level, we get fired.

Mr. Tauscher, with all due respect, perhaps you've missed the point. It was reported multiple times that the gas tax hasn't been raised since 1991 and that NH has one of the lowest gas taxes in the country (almost all the states with lower taxes are in the south where weather does not take such a huge toll on roads and bridges). Vehicle miles travelled has increased by over 30% in that time. Had you not had a raise in salary since 1991 and was working 30% more hours I would say you would be under a lot of stress too! By the way, this problem is not isolated to NH. Many states are faced with deteriorating infrastructure and are raising gas taxes. What did the state do with taxes already collect? Just look around. I-93 between Salem and Manchester is being completely reconstructed. Work is currently going on at the I-93/I-89 interchange and at the Hooksett toll booth. Parts of I-89 were repaved and had new guardrail added last summer. Work is ongoing on the Memorial bridge in Portsmouth. There is work going on in every corner of the state by private contractors paid for by our gas taxes. The DOT plows the roads, picks up dead animals, cleans out full catch basins, fixes broken guardrail, mows the roadside, paints the roads and patches potholes. I hope that answers your question.

Mr. Gen_X_er, Perhaps you missed the point. I also would like to know what was done with that tax I've also paid. What is being done with the money I am paying to register my vehicle each year. That tax wouldn't need to be raised, if all that money was used for what it was supposed to be used for. I had to suffer an increase in tolls "to improve our highways". Yes I see some of it being used, but logging over 60k miles per year in NH and new england for work... alot of "federal stimulus money" was used. Where did the x percent siphoned off for Health and human services end up? Not that some of our DOT staffers dont earn there keep, there are an awful lot that seem to do nothing more than hold up shovels while supervising guys in the hole. Do you call a mere skim coat of paving (such as 127 from franklin to salisbury, or 132 from tilton to sanbornton) a suitable 'repair' when it comes up in one or two winters? I think before more is requested, justification is due for what was already given.

If you are really that curious to see where those taxes went, look it up--it's public record. What you'll find is that most of it went to maintenance and construction as intended and a good amount also went to the Dept of Safety to patrol our highways. A very small percentage was spent otherwise. Look it up and let us know. As far as workers leaning on their shovels goes, you're almost certainly looking at laborers of the various private contractors who do almost all the construction in the state. Like I noted in my post, the DOT does maintenance, contractors do construction. The 1" skim coat of pavement is done because there isn't enough money for a proper repaving or full-depth reconstruction. That's what we're trying to fix here.

So what if the Fuel Tax hasn't been raised since 1991? Please tell us, what's wrong with having one of the lowest fuel taxes in the country? Sheesh, I go away for several months and looks like the Tax-and-Spenders have taken over. If the money being collected is getting the job done, what's wrong with low taxes? However, the Fuel tax money is being robbed from it's original purpose and being used to fund all manner of different departments. As for the improvements to I-93 and the rest of the items you mention, that's where the "Stimulus" (slush fund) money was supposed to be spent.

The money being collected is NOT getting the job done. That's the point. The stimulus was a one-time shot of money--we're talking about a sustainable infrastructure funding plan here. It shouldn't take 20 years to complete the DOT's 10 year plan. If you want to dedicate 100% of gas taxes to infrastructure, that's fine. But where will funding come from for the troopers? Or if you just want to decrease the number of cops out there, just say so.

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