Wolf Plans More Pain For PA Drivers

Wolf Plans More Pain For PA Drivers

By Lowman S. Henry

Wolf Plans More Pain For PA Drivers
You get what we vote for ha ha ha

Pennsylvania motorists already pay one of the highest state gasoline taxes in the nation thanks to what was effectively a 30-cent per gallon tax hike during the Tom Corbett Administration. Now, a new multi-state compact advocated by radical environment interests threatens to add to that tax burden.

As with most policies pushed by the Left, this one has a lofty sounding name, it is called the Transportation and Climate Initiative. Its goal is to ratchet up the war on carbon-based fuels by setting new goals for the reduction of their use. And, of course, there is the usual tug at the heart strings rhetoric as the “initiative” seeks to “maximize environmental, economic, social, and public health benefits.”

If you cut through the spin, what actually is being proposed is a tax grab to fund dubious “low carbon technologies” which cannot compete in the marketplace because they are ineffective, overly expensive or both; and – surprise – redirect more money to urban mass transit systems. As Inconvenient Facts author Greg Wrightstone puts it: “They want to take money from Perry County (rural Pennsylvania) and give it to Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.”

Wolf Plans More Pain For PA Drivers

As Wrightstone explained the compact on a recent edition of Lincoln Radio Journal, the Wolf Administration has entered into an agreement with nine other mostly northeastern states to cap each of the states’ carbon emissions from transportation (your car). The states have one year to come up with a plan. Such plans will most certainly include additional taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel. Then, Wrightstone concluded, the money will be “redistributed” to “low carbon transportation systems” – in other words urban mass transit.

Those urban transportation systems, specifically the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) in the Philadelphia region and Port Authority Transit (PAT) in the Pittsburgh area have an insatiable appetite for public dollars and annually develop new schemes to fleece taxpayers from other regions to subsidize the many and well-documented inefficiencies and outright corruption that regularly plague those agencies.

Thus, the lofty sounding Transportation and Climate Initiative allows Governor Wolf to advance two of his top agenda items: establish a new revenue stream to keep urban mass transit afloat and penalize users of carbon-based fuels. Keep in mind, those users include you every time you start your car or use a product that was delivered to the store by motor vehicle, which is to say everything.

In addition to the cost to consumers, higher taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel will increase the cost of doing business for companies based in Pennsylvania. This will put them at a competitive disadvantage with states that are not part of this ideologically driven compact. Notably, the state of Ohio declined to participate in the boondoggle, correctly seeing an opportunity to gain a competitive edge over Pennsylvania-based businesses.

All of this raises the issue of how new and/or higher taxes will be imposed. Since this is an administrative agreement, it is entirely possible, even likely, the Wolf Administration will attempt to bypass the General Assembly and impose the new cost as a regulatory fee.

There are many reasons to believe the governor will try that route. First, with Republicans in control of both houses of the General Assembly, the chances of winning legislative approval for a fuel tax increase, especially in the House, are slim to none. Second, the General Assembly has a recent history of allowing its constitutional authority to be usurped by other branches of government without putting up an effective fight.

For example, last year the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, in clear violation of the state constitution, abrogated the legislature’s power to draw congressional district lines and instituted by judicial fiat a new congressional district map gerrymandered to favor Democrats in the 2018 election. Legislative Republicans howled in protest, even appealed to the federal courts. But they failed to take the one action that would have been effective: impeach the offending justices, especially one who in a blatant breach of judicial ethics campaigned on doing exactly what was done.

So Governor Wolf can be forgiven if he believes he can impose an entire new layer of taxation on We the People of Penn’s Woods without the legislature taking any effective action to stop him. But – this is an issue where legislative leaders, particularly those in the state Senate, need to stiffen their spines and take a stand.

The policy goals of the Transportation and Climate Initiative are dubious at best. This is a clear tax grab for urban mass transit, and consumers are already overburdened when it comes to gas and fuel taxes. Even for the legislative faint of heart this is a battle worth fighting.

Lowmen Henry is chairman & CEO of the Lincoln Institute and host of the weekly Lincoln Radio Journal

Wolf Plans More Pain For PA Drivers

For a story regarding a controversial video becoming an anthem of the Yellow Vest movement visit here.

18 thoughts on “Wolf Plans More Pain For PA Drivers”

  1. Used to ride PAT bus all the time 10 years ago.. Then the single fare from my house was 3.75, now that the state has subsidize PAT the fare is 2.50 and the number of people that seem to be riding has dropped. See so many empty buses, but back 10 years ago the bus was standing room only. The only way public transportation works is for taxpayers to subsidize.

    1. Most of them dont have paychecks! They survive off the handouts that the dems give them from our hard earned tax dollers!

  2. Governor Wolf is an old-school leftist who hasn’t met a tax he doesn’t like. He also enjoys giving the tax dollars to his union friends and contributors who drive buses and trains in Philly and Pittsburgh. And he wants to give some dollars to the “crony” capitalist green energy hucksters who will take the tax dollars, line their pockets, and do nothing good. No surprise there.

    Here is the problem. The gas-tax hike of “Republican” then-Governor Corbett (I prefer the more descriptive “Corbutt”) was from a “Republican” Governor and a “Republican” legislature. So why does this piece blame the Democrats? There is no difference. The professional political class in PA gets along great together. The Democrat Governor=in-waiting, Josh Shapiro, and the PA GOP chair, Val DiGiorgio, have worked together hand and glove. When he was in Montco government, Mr. Shapiro hired Mr. DiGiorgio’s wife, the two were partners in the same law firm.

    The symptom is the gas-tax hikes. The disease is the GOP establishment.

  3. Has he not learned anything from the yellow vest protesters in France? There comes a time when people are not going to take it anymore. Big government is an intrusion on people’s lives, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

    1. Just an FYI, you cannot vote out Wolfe, Pennsylvania has a two term limit as Governor, in four years he will be out. Might want to take a civics class before you post.

  4. It’s the people who voted the tax man back in aka Tom wolf just like all the political people.the working people of Pennsylvania does not have a chance with the crooks in Harrisburg they care about there self .

  5. So let me get this straight
    We that live in rural pa will pay for big city public transportation and just get screwed the whole way around
    All the big city politicians want us to live there and just tax the crap out us

  6. If not him, it would be someone else. A main point to note: the tax will not decrease carbon emissions and revenue will just be distributed wherever the administration would like to see it used.
    We need to see more carpool and make more effective use of buses, such as fill them to capacity.
    We just need to think and use common sense approaches to our problems.

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