Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Gas taxes

This is interesting.

Gas prices soar, WI Gov Doyle seeks to raise state gas tax, claims it's not really a gas tax.

Gas prices soar, IN Gov Daniels refuses to suspend state gas tax as Democrats urge.

I don't really know how to analyze these, since I lack the economics background. I do note that gas in Indiana is taxed at 6% + $0.18/gal, so around $0.38/gallon at $3.40/gal, and the gas tax in WI is $0.33/gal regardless of price and expected to go up to around $0.40/gal. From a consumer standpoint, the flat-rate tax per gallon is much easier to not notice as prices fluctuate. And it seems counterproductive to "combatting high prices" to seek to limit the amount of gasoline a company brings into a state--something economists understood in the 18th century and Democrats can't figure out (or willfully ignore) today.

What I can analyze is that neither of these policies are really about "helping citizens." In Indiana, the Dems hate Daniels so they're toying with a visible small issue to make him look bad; in Wisconsin the Dems are exploiting the "ZOMG! Companies make profits and that's wrong!" fears and resentments of people who don't understand math and don't like people making more money than they do.

But I find the regional differences in strategy--more taxes! Less taxes!--interesting. Just like it interests me that an Indiana Democrat would probably be cast as a knuckle-dragging Neanderthal right-winger on either coast. :)

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