Letter to the Editor

Gas tax hurts the poor

Thursday, November 1, 2018

On Nov. 6 Missourians will vote on Proposition D which, if enacted would increase the gasoline tax by 2 1/2 cents per gallon annually for four years beginning July 1, 2019. Estimates say this will generate $288 million annually for state law enforcement and $123 million annually to local governments for road construction and maintenance.

I have no doubt that Missouri needs to raise this revenue, but I do not believe that a sales tax is the best way to do it.

Sale taxes are regressive, and they impact poorer individuals more severely than those who are affluent. For example, the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy reports the following about Missouri taxes:

Families that earn less than $17,800 per year pay 5.9 percent of their income in sales taxes.

Families that earn between $34,100 and $55,200 per year pay 4.3 percent.

Families that earn between $93,100 and $187,300 per year only pay 2.6 percent.

In other words, the more income people receive the smaller the share of it that they pay in sales taxes. Therefore, as a matter of personal principle, I am reluctant to vote for any sales tax increase.

Moreover, taxes on gasoline tax people for going to work, to the doctor, to school and other such important activities. I would suggest the fairest form of taxation is a reasonably constructed progressive income tax and the elimination of all types of sales taxes and other regressive methods by which governments raise revenue.

JOHN PIEPHO, Cape Girardeau