News that doesn't receive the necessary attention.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), new chair of Senate Environment and Public Works Comm. says rise in fed. gas tax is needed to fund infrastructure, but call it a 'user fee,' a user fee is 'very, very popular.' Inhofe: 'I remind my conservative friends...this is what we're supposed to be doing'-The Hill

"Inhofe’s first priority is neither the EPA nor global warming science. He first plans to take on transportation issues, including getting another major transportation bill passed, to try and save money and stop short-term bills from passing.

“My goal in the new Congress is to put America back on the map as the place to do business,” Inhofe said in a statement. “I plan to pursue this by using my leadership positions to improve our nation’s transportation infrastructure, rein in EPA’s job-killing regulations and rebuild our national defense.”"

1/7/15, "Inhofe Lays Out Plan To Fight Obama’s EPA Regulations," Daily Caller, Michael Bastasch

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"The user fee is very, very popular.".

1/9/15, "Momentum builds in Congress for raising the federal gas tax," The Hill, by Laura Barron-Lopez and Keith Laing.

"Record-low gas prices across the U.S. have given rise to fresh talk in Washington of raising the federal gas tax for the first time in over 20 years, with leading Republicans now saying a hike must not be ruled out.

The GOP has long resisted calls from business leaders and others to boost the 18.4 cent-per-gallon tax as a way to pay for upgrades to the nation’s crumbling roads and bridges.

Yet in recent days, senior Senate Republicans have said they want to keep options open and that "nothing is off the table" when weighing the best mechanisms to pay to finance infrastructure projects.


"I just think that option is there, it's clearly one of the options," said Sen. Inhofe (R-Okla.), new chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.


Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), the third-ranking Senate Republican, also said they were open to the possibility of raising the tax.


Democratic leaders in both chambers of Congress, meanwhile, declared this week that “now is the time” for an increase.


While major obstacles stand in the way — namely the House of Representatives —business groups believe there is a real chance to raise the tax in the final two years of the Obama administration.


“Comments this week from Sens. Inhofe, Hatch and Thune signal a growing recognition that the gas tax is a fair and consistent way to fund our infrastructure needs,” 


Association of Equipment Manufacturers spokesman Michael O’Brien said in an interview on Thursday.


Democrats have typically been more open to the idea of hiking the gas tax, but it’s the shift in Republicans' tone that is drawing more attention to the possibility. .
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Inhofe argues lawmakers "don't have a choice" but to consider raising the gas tax, which he says is more accurately called a "user fee"  a characterization the founder of the conservative Americans for Tax Reform, Grover Norquist, has yet to sign off on.

Americans for Tax Reform said it is still opposed to the idea of increasing the gas tax, despite the recent decline in fuel prices.

“Before Congress even thinks about asking Americans to pay higher prices at the pump, it should make sure that the $33 billion the federal government collects annually from drivers is spent efficiently,” the anti-tax group said in a statement that was provided to The Hill.
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Inhofe said he has a response to those who may pushback against considering the fee as a viable option.

"I remind my conservative friends, 


and people who ask the question about maybe as a part of a package having to increase the user fees, 




Inhofe told The Hill in a brief interview. 
.

"The user fee is very, very popular. The evidence of that is a lot of states are doing that on their own because 'well if the federal government won't do it we've got to do something about the roads,'" Inhofe said."...




  



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