Gas prices add to case for delaying T-SPLOST vote

Take the news today about gasoline prices locally (from AJC.com) …

The average price for a gallon of unleaded regular stood at $3.55 Monday, up 3 cents from a week ago and 45 cents from this time a year ago, according to AAA.

The price has risen 15 cents a gallon in the past month.

Georgia’s average price is just slightly below the national average of $3.56, which is the highest price ever for this time of year, the Associated Press reported. Since January, a gallon of gas has risen 25 cents per gallon.

… add this prediction nationally from a Friday story in the San Jose Mercury News (note the part I’ve bolded) …

Some oil analysts predict $4.50 a gallon or more by Memorial Day on the West Coast and major cities across the United States such as Chicago, New York and Atlanta.

… and tell me how this news improves the T-SPLOST’s chances of being approved by voters in a referendum scheduled for July.

On one hand, I suppose a project list with half the spending dedicated to mass transit could be seen in better light if gasoline prices are higher. But that premise depends on voters’ believing those transit projects will benefit them personally, and I still don’t think many voters will review the list and believe that’s true for them.

It’s more likely, I think, that a potential increase of about 28 percent in gas prices (adding $1/gallon to the present $3.55) would put consumers in no mood to add a 1 percent tax to everything they buy — up to a 9 percent sales tax in Atlanta if the 1 percent tax for water/sewer infrastructure is renewed next month.

I say again: It would be in everyone’s best interests to put off this tax for a couple of years. It’s in the pro-tax folks’ best interests because, as of now, all the external factors (higher gas, still-sluggish economy, etc.) seem to be going against them. It’s in the skeptics’ best interests — assuming they could be persuaded to support a better project list — because it would allow time to rework the list. Only the absolutely anti-tax group should favor a July T-SPLOST vote at this point.

I put out that idea last fall without a great deal of optimism that it would take root. But earlier this month, a trio of legislators proposed legislation pretty much along the lines of what I advocated. Will their colleagues listen?

– By Kyle Wingfield

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147 comments Add your comment

Dana Blankenhorn

February 20th, 2012
11:05 am

The state’s politics haven’t kept up with the changing economic reality of the last decade, namely the rise in importance of the creative class, universities as the center of the economy, and resulting demands for tolerant social policy as well as increased high-quality dense living. Emory, GaTech and GaState are where the money is.

But look at where the state’s leaders live. They’re all from the exurbs. And, yes, the Georgia mountains are now very much part of Atlanta. They’re based on real estate as meaning land, not buildings, and roads, not transit. It’s where their money comes from, and their political contributions.

Our growth will lag behind the nation’s until we stop looking in our rear-view mirror for the next economic boom.

Brosephus

February 20th, 2012
11:08 am

A list with half the spending on mass transit would be DOA in Georgia, even if gas was $8 a gallon. Southern people love their freedom. Freedom comes with choosing your own path, not riding the rails/bus. Whether they hold the referrendum this year or later, I don’t see my vote changing from no.

killerj

February 20th, 2012
11:09 am

As a “tax payee to much for nothing”,my middle finger Kyle,anyone,s a fool to raise taxes on themselves,its only more waste for the kitty on capitol hill who is outta control with big government.

Hillbilly D

February 20th, 2012
11:12 am

Southern people love their freedom. Freedom comes with choosing your own path, not riding the rails/bus. Whether they hold the referrendum this year or later, I don’t see my vote changing from no.

Good point, Bro. In my area, the T-SPLOST would only bring more roads and more roads only bring more people. We’ve got too many already.

Junior Samples

February 20th, 2012
11:14 am

Sure, let’s wait.
Wait in traffic.

Do what??????

February 20th, 2012
11:24 am

“A list with half the spending on mass transit would be DOA in Georgia, even if gas was $8 a gallon.”

I’ve stated this many times before. The only way a transit system would ever work is if you burned Atlanta to the ground and rebuilt it like Chicago or NYC. It ONLY works on a grid system.

Bart Abel

February 20th, 2012
11:28 am

I’m against the T-SPLOST because it’s regressive. As a percentage of income, it raises taxes mostly on the poor and middle class while allowing the rich to coast.

Instead, Georgia should eliminate the special interest tax breaks that have been given over the course of the past several years, and raise state income taxes on the wealthy. It’s a good idea nationally, and it’s a good idea at the state level too.

Brosephus

February 20th, 2012
11:28 am

HD

Been missing shootin’ the breeze with you. Your area sounds like mine. T-SPLOST would be strictly road here, and I already hate traffic as it is. I don’t want more of it.

Road Scholar

February 20th, 2012
11:39 am

Bro: ” Southern people love their freedom. ”

I agree but add that southerners typically do not plan for the future either! We are going to add 3 M people in the next 20 years in Atlanta alone. There are other regions like us who need their TSPLOST to pass (Savannah, south side of Atl, NE ga) We will need mass transit for the ones who can use it. Those who want to drive at all costs will still be able to because those who use transit will make room for those others to sit in more traffic! And pay for even more expensive gasoline…

Kyle, we have been waiting since the 1980’s when the gas tax was last adjusted. If no TSPLOST, then adjust the gas tax to inflation. We have had a free ride for so long it’s time to pay up!

Under your reasoning, when is it time? Potholes so large you could lose a volkswagon in one? Rush hour traffic for how many hours each day? Air quality issues? (Oh those damn regulations!) Parking rates going up! While not perfect, TSPLOST has a list of specific projects to be completed once the tax sunsets in 10 years. If they aren’t done if the tax is approved, there will never be a renewal vote. And I am one who supports and does teleworking…

Do what??????

February 20th, 2012
11:39 am

Brosephus

How’s the freak show on Bookman’s blog with all the unemployed dead beats who reside there on a 24/7 basis? AmVet still his same old senile and delusional self? Granny too?

Road Scholar

February 20th, 2012
11:43 am

Do what? Takes one to caall one! I hope you’re feeling better? The other day you suffered from verbal diarehha, and it wasn’t pretty!

Try to stay on topic and ADD to the conversation.

Charles Purvis

February 20th, 2012
11:43 am

$2.50/gal gas? American energy independance, which will bolster our national security, not to mention our pockets, our job growth and revenues and therefore economic growth? Finally a declining national debt? It is possible with the right leadership!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOImnCrKPZ8

ragnar danneskjold

February 20th, 2012
11:46 am

“Never” works well for me, does that work well for you?

Do what??????

February 20th, 2012
11:46 am

“Takes one to caall one! I hope you’re feeling better? The other day you suffered from verbal diarehha, and it wasn’t pretty!

You should really use spell check before you try to put someone down, simpleton. Besides, I get a kick out of you and other left wingers saying I’m this and that.

“Try to stay on topic and ADD to the conversation.”

Didn’t you just got off topic, simpleton?

Road Scholar

February 20th, 2012
11:51 am

Do What?: Check your second sentence @11:39; try using the verb “is” before or after “AMVET ” to make a correct sentence! Remember , each sentence has a verb! Two can play these stupid games you play …

Kyle Wingfield

February 20th, 2012
11:52 am

Road and Do What: That’s enough.

Road Scholar

February 20th, 2012
11:55 am

Understood. You didn’t ask my honest question about “when”. We have ignored our needs for so long. GDOT is still paying back on projects that went to construction many years ago, esp with the debt service on the bonds. (remember the alledged treasury issue there?)

Old timer

February 20th, 2012
11:58 am

Will not vote for the transportation tax….figure another way.

Brosephus

February 20th, 2012
12:12 pm

Road

When you don’t want major growth, expansion, or the headaches that come with it, you do not plan for the future. There’s probably a good segment of the South that would be happy if nothing else changed from here until the end of time. I’m not saying that’s a good or bad thing, but that’s why I think the South is more conservative than liberal in it’s leanings.

Do what??????

February 20th, 2012
12:15 pm

“but that’s why I think the South is more conservative than liberal in it’s leanings.”

The south leans conservative because people down south know what happens when a state goes total blue.

Bankruptcy. See: Illinois and California.

The south also leans conservative because of wanting lower taxes etc.

Road Hard (and put up wet)

February 20th, 2012
12:28 pm

The public should be just about fed-up with how market value (in everything from real estate to commodities) has been hijacked by an elite owner/investor class. We pay more for everything and get less value for our outlay. Wall Street speculates on everything from how much value will increase or deteriorate. And with either outsome, someone other than the American public is reaping enormous rewards, then taking their money and running or offering it back to the public at a substantial (borrowing) cost. The system is broken and our roads and bridges and livelihoods are the only casualty.

MrLiberty

February 20th, 2012
12:30 pm

T-Splost is a complete waste of money. This will just put more money in the hands of those who have clearly shown their inability to be trusted with money time and time again.

What sort of “conservative” approach is it to suggest delaying a vote that should never even be allowed to happen. There is no appropriate time to enable the majority to further victimize the minority through yet another wasteful tax.

Road Scholar

February 20th, 2012
12:30 pm

Bro: But that is what the politicians and Chambers of Commerce want…growth. W/o it the government revenues don’t grow to match inflation let alone “new ” programs. Property taxes and sales tax grow with inflation, but that doesn’t cover the entire increase that is needed. I realize it is a never ending battle though.

Iconoclast

February 20th, 2012
12:33 pm

Do What, the south (and Georgia in particular) has also embraced a “growth at any cost” attitude since the Great Depression (some would say since 19th century reconstruction). We are a competitive region, not because we’re blessed with abundant natural and agricultural resources, but because we’re willing to exploit them without regard for what’s left for successive generations.

Road Scholar

February 20th, 2012
12:34 pm

Mr Liberty: Does that mean you are against any transportation tax or user fee? Education taxes? Any election? (”There is no appropriate time to enable the majority to further victimize the minority through yet another wasteful tax.”…the politicians are the ones who tax!)

Do what??????

February 20th, 2012
12:34 pm

“we’re willing to exploit them”

Or, it could be that companies are sick of unions and tired of high taxes. There’s a reason why car companies are opening up massive plants in the southeast.

Ayn Rant

February 20th, 2012
12:36 pm

Why put off a measure to fund transportation and other infrastructure improvements because of high fuel prices? Why do we even need a referendum for sensible proposals? Why doesn’t the Legislature approve the needed sales tax now to provide jobs for engineers and construction people, to increase consumer demand to attract capital investment, and to reduce fuel consumption.

Have you noticed the waste of time and fuel due to inadequate infrastructure and bad management? Haven’t you seen lots of people sitting in their cars, engines running, waiting for traffic lights to change and freeway traffic jams to ease ?

Do you really think fuel prices are going to plummet next year? Do you think “drill, baby, drill” and sludge pipelines from Canada will significantly affect oil prices? Do you not know that petroleum prices are set in London according to world-wide consumer demand and Arab production quotas.

Do you realize that US oil refineries are operating below capacity because of lack of demand? Do you know that reduced consumption results in lower fuel prices, except when Big Oil manipulates the US supply by shutting down refineries?

Why are the people of Georgia so passive in the face of the economic decline, high unemployment, and low capital investment? It’s positively un-American!

K.Conway

February 20th, 2012
12:41 pm

Vote Obama out of office and start drilling here at home forr oil and the gas prices would fall below $2 a gallon!

Road Scholar

February 20th, 2012
12:48 pm

Conway: Yeah, sure. ANY new oil will be sold on the world market at prevailing prices…ya know…supply and demand. Capitalism, ain’t it great! (before any one goes off, I support capitalism but also know how it functions.)

Also, some refineries are offline to change over to “summer “gas and to do general maintenance.

JF McNamara

February 20th, 2012
12:49 pm

You only want to delay the vote because you don’t want it. If voters think its a big issue, then the vote itself will fail. Delaying it just gives you what you want with no risk. That’s not Democratic at all.

“Southern people love their freedom. Freedom comes with choosing your own path, not riding the rails/bus. Whether they hold the referrendum this year or later, I don’t see my vote changing from no.”

Well, you are free to vote no, and you are free to abide by the law if it passes. There are many things that I don’t like, but the majority of citizens do and I abide by those rules. If you are unable to do that, you are free to move…

Don't Tread

February 20th, 2012
12:52 pm

I’m still on the NO side for three reasons: 1. We have too many people in Atlanta already…let’s not encourage more to come here. I don’t want Atlanta to be another New York City or LA. 2. The government is the biggest waster of money on the planet. I don’t feel the need to “volunteer” to give them more. 3. The water situation is still in limbo. It would be a complete waste to spend all this money and then have the courts decide that we have to go back to 1970s water usage levels. Atlanta would become a ghost town once the water is cut off…there’s just not enough to go around.

JF McNamara

February 20th, 2012
12:55 pm

K. Conway,

You should probably educate yourself before posting. Domestic Oil production is up a great deal compared to the end of the Bush Years.

http://www.consumerenergyreport.com/2012/01/06/the-oilman-in-the-white-house/

Lil' Barry Bailout (Revised Downward)

February 20th, 2012
12:57 pm

Gas prices add to case for kicking Obozo and his failed policies to the curb
10:53 am February 20, 2012, by Kyle Wingfield
———–

Fixed.

Lil' Barry Bailout (Revised Downward)

February 20th, 2012
1:01 pm

As libtards love to point out, oil production doesn’t come online at the flip of a switch. Any increase in oil production occurred because of actions taken years ago by our President Bush.

Just say "NO" to TSPLOST

February 20th, 2012
1:05 pm

Just say “NO” to TSPLOST, the money pot for political corruption! NO NEW TAXES, NO RATE INCREASES!

Just say "NO" to TSPLOST

February 20th, 2012
1:06 pm

Instead of building more roads, lets reduce the number of people in the Metro area: Fire half your workers now!

Kyle Wingfield

February 20th, 2012
1:07 pm

Road @ 11:55: “When” new infrastructure needs to be built is of secondary importance if the vote is going to be held “when” it has little chance of passing anyway.

Will

February 20th, 2012
1:10 pm

TSPLOST is likely to fail.
In Cobb County, Tim Lee has cooked his goose with supporting a rail project that does not allieviate traffic.
We are paying for the beltline even though it’s not a high value transportation project .
Maybe after it fails, the politicans will listen and bring trasit proposals that actually improve traffic

Kyle Wingfield

February 20th, 2012
1:11 pm

MrLiberty @ 12:30: As I said in the OP, there are three groups of people: Those who want the tax and the current project list; those who are open to the tax but skeptical of the current project list; and those who don’t want the tax regardless of the project list. I count myself in the second group: I could be persuaded to support the tax if I felt it would pay for worthwhile infrastructure, just as I can be persuaded to part with my money at a store if I feel the product/service is worthwhile.

Kyle Wingfield

February 20th, 2012
1:12 pm

JF @ 12:49: So now you’re a mind reader? I outlined my thinking in the OP, and have outlined it at greater length in a previous column that is linked above. If you won’t accept my reasoning at face value — and I don’t think I’ve earned a reputation for pulling my punches — then I don’t know why you would bother reading and replying to my blog posts.

Just say "NO" to TSPLOST

February 20th, 2012
1:16 pm

Never, ever donate money to any charity, it just pays the bloated salaries of the hired help. See today’s story titled “Salaries soar on funds for students” in today’s AJC Urinal.

Brosephus

February 20th, 2012
1:17 pm

Do What @ 12:15

The South has been conservative for about as long as this country has existed. That would void any referrence to the financial status of states in today’s economic times.

Road @ 12:30

I don’t think they want the growth anywhere near as much as the money that comes with the growth. If the money could be achieved without the growth, I think many would go that route first.

JF McNamara

I have no problem with going by whatever the outcome of the vote ends up. My personal opinion is that, if you’re gonna attempt to plan for future transportation by building more roads, you’re only planning for future congestion. A piecemeal approach to regional transit by widening roads only invites more cars to use them. I was of the opinion that removing cars from the road was the way to decrease congestion and improve driving times.

Road Scholar

February 20th, 2012
1:20 pm

What we are talking about is a penny sales tax per dollar. That’s .04 c per gallon and .80 c per tankfull. That is on average one tank a week…so it’s $41.60 a year on average. Rebuilding interchanges, widening major arterials, fixing hot spots of congestion, updating signal systems, etc in addition to mass transit (buses and trains) seems a good investment…whether there are more people or not.

And it’s about jobs…tax dollars go to hiring private contractors, employees, material suppliers, food stores , restaurants… and we need jobs now to spur the economy. How is all that private investment in transportation wortking for you? Is all that talk about improving the economy and jobs from the conserves just idle talk?

Kyle Wingfield

February 20th, 2012
1:26 pm

Road: Yeah, but it’s a penny on every dollar you spend on things besides gas, too. It’s not a penny increase in the fuel tax.

Halftrack

February 20th, 2012
1:38 pm

Waiting or postponement is a very good idea. The Region system is flawed anyway. Our Legislators need to reassess the whole thing again. Let’s take a little longer, as gasoline goes up, most all other commodities goes up as well. Materials for new highways or even resurfacing of old highways will dramatically begin to jump with the price of oil. Please contact your U.S. Congressmen now.

carlosgvv

February 20th, 2012
1:39 pm

Enter your comments here

carlosgvv

February 20th, 2012
1:41 pm

These high gas prices are all the fault of that African Socialist Atheist non-American Obama who wants to destory America. How do I know this? Gingrich, Romney and Santorum say so and you know these good Christians would never tell a lie.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

February 20th, 2012
1:42 pm

Yo, Brosephus! Great to have you over here, even if it’s temporary!

Now, as to the T-SPLOST, I’m against it on pure democratic principles. I don’t like citizen votes on policy at all. We are a Constitutional Republic, not a democracy. If our elected leaders don’t have the fortitude to vote increased revenues to fund what they consider needed projects, then they need to be voted out.

Either take a stand or don’t, but stop putting tax and policy issues in the direct hands of the dumb masses.

Jefferson

February 20th, 2012
1:48 pm

There’s the sign. Petty comments on why gas is high.

I vote No on splost because there is never accountability for the fleecing the gov’t gets at the hands of businesses. Overcharged and never get what you pay for.

Bart Abel

February 20th, 2012
2:10 pm

Kyle believes that he doesn’t pull punches. I suspect otherwise.

Conservatives repeatedly assert or imply that conservatives are anti-tax and liberals are pro-tax. Yet, like all conservatives, they frequently support (or do not oppose) sales taxes and other forms of taxation which are regressive (it was, after all, a Republican legislature and Republican governor that put this referendum on the ballot).

They’re aware of the cognitive dissonance between claiming to represent an anti-tax point of view, while supporting proposals, or candidates with proposals, which would raise taxes on the poor and middle class while reducing taxes on the wealthy. Look closely at Romney’s, Santorum’s, Gingrich’s, and Ryan’s tax plans for evidence. Look closely at who pays a larger share of their incomes in taxes under sales tax proposals, which conservatives frequently support increasing, versus those who pay larger shares under income tax proposals, which conservatives always support reducing.

Conservative leaders and pundits are NOT anti-tax. They’re anti-tax the rich and pro-tax you and me. When Kyle admits that truth, then I’ll give him credit for not pulling punches.