Why I’m voting No tomorrow on the gas tax

My friend Nathaniel Batchelder (of the The Peace House in OKC) has written excellent op-ed piece for OKIMC.org that says why SQ#723 is a bad idea. I agree with what he said wholeheartedly, but will give a bit more commentary from a Green perspective.

We (the GPOK interim Cooperative council) discussed at length what stand we should take on SQ#723, and agreed to oppose it (but never got the final wording down on statement in time for release…this SQ really snuck up on us). In those discussions the main concern many had was whether increasing gas prices was a good thing or not. Some saw the rise in prices as being postive, with the hopeful result of discouraging driving and encouraging better fuel economy, alternative fuels and mass transit. Others believed that the poor would be hit the hardest by higher gas prices and that rich people would drive big SUV’s no matter what (my own view).

In the end we decided that while a gas price rise would have positive benefits in discouraging car use, it would also spur on more car use because the taxes would go only for roads and bridges (and not for bike lanes and mass transit).

I would support a gas price hike, if the money went for mass transit and if poor folks could have a rebate at the end of the year (similiar to the sales tax rebate that poor folks get in Oklahoma when they file their state income taxes). But SQ723 does not do this. Instead it builds more roads and makes rich fat cat highway contractors richer. That’s why I’m voting NO.

One thought on “Why I’m voting No tomorrow on the gas tax”

  1. I agree with you completely. I had thought the same thing. We need someone to push such legislation. Here in Moore brand new sidewalks are popping up everywhere and more all lead to the new shopping area on off I-35 and 19th street. This is good because it gives people the choice to ride bikes or walk to places like Walmart and Dollar Tree and Khols, restaurants, and soon a new theatre…etc… But what I have noticed is that in the older neighbor hoods like mine we don’t get these sidewalks. Its the surrounding and new development areas or the main streets. I can still get to the sidewalks but I have to take a few blocks of walking or riding in the street.

    I know old editions often don’t have the space for sidewalks and that it would be more difficult because they weren’t planned for the addition of sidewalks.

    My neighborhood plaza towers was built in the 60’s with no sidewalks. Its older and not as nice looking as new development and had gotten passed over for the new sidewalks. But we have an elementary school that kids can walk to in the neighborhood yet its too dangerous in many instances.

    I saw all that to just point out that we really need to push for communities to put a focus on things like this to help families and individuals out. There are so many benefits to sidewalks; safety, exercise, transportation, community unity by getting to know your neighbors. etc…

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