Bipartisan Commission Calls for Increase of the Gas Tax
The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform released its plan, which includes increasing the federal tax on gasoline to fund road and bridge construction. President Obama created the bipartisan Commission to address the nation's fiscal challenges. The Commission is charged with identifying policies to improve the fiscal situation in the medium term and to achieve fiscal sustainability over the long run. Reasoning that increasing the gas tax and dedicating the funds to the Highway Trust Fund would eliminate the need for further general fund bailouts, the Commission recommended raising the federal tax on gasoline by 15 cents beginning in 2013. Other recommendations made by the Commission to cut the deficit by $3.8 trillion included decreasing farm subsidies, reducing income tax rates and eliminating certain tax breaks.
The sweeping proposal has garnered opposition from liberals, labor unions and conservatives, including most members of the Commission itself. The co-chairs and members of the Commission made it clear that the proposal was just a starting point endorsed by only the co-chairs. The Commission report will be official only if supported by 14 of 18 Commission members.