WASHINGTON--The Concord Coalition Citizens' Council is urging Senators to oppose the transfer of the 4.3 cents-per gallon federal gasoline tax enacted in 1993 from deficit reduction to the Highway Trust Funds.
Concord Executive Director Martha Phillips said the transfer, currently included in the Senate Finance Committee's tax reconciliation bill, would make balancing the budget by 2002 much more difficult.
"The increase in the federal fuels tax in 1993 decreased the deficit in subsequent years," Phillips said. "If the money that this tax raises is now put toward increasing federal transportation spending, it will either increase annual deficits or decrease spending in other domestic discretionary programs."
Phillips said the transfer of the gas tax to transportation programs could add as much as $20 billion to the national debt over the next five years. The transfer of the gas tax would also increase the pressure on Congress to take the Highway Trust Funds off budget, a move which Concord also opposes.
"Transportation spending should undergo the same scrutiny and be subject to the same pressures as every other domestic discretionary category," Phillips said. "No area of the budget, including transportation, deserves special status when it comes to making funding decisions."