New Castle News

Closer Look

February 9, 2013

John K. Manna: Corbett’s plan for gas pumps is really a tax by any name

NEW CASTLE — Nobody likes to raise taxes until it’s time to raise taxes.

And so, Gov. Tom Corbett is calling for an increase in ...

No, he and his transportation secretary, Barry Schoch, say the proposal to lift the cap on the wholesale price of gasoline in Pennsylvania is not an increase in any tax rate.

Technically, they are correct. The governor is not raising taxes, and he may be able to go into his re-election bid next year and claim that he didn’t increase taxes.

However, the effect of lifting the cap on the wholesale price of gasoline is likely to create a tax increase for motorists at the pump.

So, what does it really matter what the governor says? As a former U.S. attorney general famously said, “Watch we do, not what we say.”

Corbett’s budget calls for pumping nearly $2 billion into the state’s transportation system, including money to fix roads and bridges and for mass transit.

He said the state’s current transportation funding shortfall has resulted from inflation, reduced tax income as a result of more fuel efficient vehicles and decades of underinvesting.

Schoch said the state can’t continue to avoid the problem without implications to public safety. If the problem isn’t addressed, it will get more expensive, he said.

Whether Corbett is accurate in saying it has been decades that the state has underinvested in its transportation system, the fact is that there has been an underinvestment. Had the state kept up with road and bridge improvements over the years, perhaps gasoline tax increases could have been kept to a minimum.

There are some legislators questioning raising taxes to provide money for mass transit. It’s difficult to imagine that some of them don’t understand that mass transit plays an integral role in the state’s overall transportation system.

A key point being noted by the Corbett administration is the number of jobs that will be created through these road and bridge improvements. And who said government can’t create jobs?

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Closer Look
  • phone.jpg Attorney general warns of phone scams

    Assorted scams in the commonwealth have prompted a warning from the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office. Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane said several scams have been reported to the Bureau of Consumer Protection in recent weeks.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • disability.jpg Disabilities group unveils new icon

    Disability Options Network is joining forces with the Accessible Icon Project. Officials of the community organization, located at 1929 E. Washington St., said its new icon will replace the current international symbol for accessibility.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • well.jpg Auditor: State doesn’t have enough inspectors to monitor wells

    The state’s 83 well inspectors face a daunting enough challenge keeping tabs on 120,000 active oil and gas wells that have been drilled over the last century.

     

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • vote.jpg Independent hopefuls may widen gubernatorial field

    Just when Pennsylvania voters were getting used to the idea of a gubernatorial election showdown between Republican incumbent Tom Corbett and Democratic challenger Tom Wolf, other hopefuls may soon be joining the fray.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • manna.jpg John K. Manna: Measuring the money

    Should we even bother to have an election in November? By some accounts, maybe the results of some contests are already in.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • shooting.jpg Man injured in city shooting

    A man was flown to a Pittsburgh hospital Thursday morning following a shooting on West Lincoln Avenue.

     

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • police.jpg Police: Man pulls gun on construction workers

    Construction workers in Neshannock Township flagged down police Thursday claiming a business owner had pulled a gun on them.

     

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Shooting.jpg Shooting witness arrested for giving false name

    State police have arrested a second Detroit area man after questioning him about Sunday’s fatal shooting in Ellwood City. DeMarco Dorian Hoskins, 22, of Highland Park, Mich., was the third man in a private car that transported the deceased to look for a hospital. Hoskins allegedly gave police a false identity when they questioned him as witness.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • bridgerepair.jpg PennDOT seeks outside help to make bridge repairs

    State officials are poised to sign a massive deal that will enlist outside help to rebuild and maintain up to 600 bridges, marking the Corbett administration’s latest foray into privatizing key government functions.

     

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • GALLO_Natalie.jpg County native plays Clinton intern

    Natalie Gallo isn’t an intern, but she’s playing one on the New York stage.

     

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

House Ads
Seasonal Content
Section Teases
Must Read
Continuous Super Bowl Coverage