Friday, June 6, 2008
Free market forces are doing exactly what they will always do. The price-conscious consumer searches for the lowest price, and they are increasingly finding that price across state lines. With much of West Virginia’s population located along the border in cities like Weirton, Parkersburg, Huntington, Bluefield, and others, it is easy for consumers to avoid the higher priced West Virginia fuel. Sometimes the choice for consumers is extremely easy with gas stations sitting on both sides of the border within sight of each other having up to an 18¢ difference in price on the same grade of fuel — the West Virginia station being the more expensive of the two. The state’s fuel tax is the biggest cause of the price difference.
These price-conscious West Virginians are voting to fill their tanks in other states, decreasing the amount of tax the state receives. At the same time they are giving a tax boost to the states of Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Kentucky when they pay that state’s fuel tax.
West Virginia funds its entire portion of highway construction and maintenance with taxes from fuel. A major component in highway maintenance is the petroleum based product; asphalt. The state’s equipment runs on diesel fuel and gasoline. All of these items are rising in price significantly right when the state’s poor tax policy is reducing the amount of funding the Department of Highways receives.
An opportunity for West Virginia lies in these high fuel prices, and we need to seize it. We must cut our fuel taxes now and get two great benefits. The first will be to West Virginia taxpayers who will see an immediate reduction in fuel cost providing much-needed relief. That lower fuel cost will free up consumers’ money to spend in other parts of our economy, causing long overdue growth in West Virginia.
The second benefit will come when the free market brings those price-conscious West Virginia consumers back to purchase the cheaper fuel. They will now begin to pay the West Virginia fuel tax instead of the fuel tax in the other states, but something else will happen as well. Price-conscious consumers living in the bordering states will begin to shop in West Virginia for fuel. Those from Ashland, KY, Marietta, OH, Cumberland, MD and other bordering communities will cross over the border, buy fuel here and pay West Virginia taxes instead of their home states, providing greater tax revenue for West Virginia.
Now is the time for West Virginia to make a significant cut in the fuel tax to help West Virginia taxpayers and consumers increase revenue to the WVDOH and boost our state’s economy. We need to put an end to the bad tax policies in West Virginia that are destroying our economy.
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
No Strings Attached is a riveting first-hand account of government malfeasance at its most shocking, told by the man who held the same Senate seat once occupied by Robert C. Byrd. And Senator Weeks issues a challenge: “Now that you know what’s going on with your elected officials, what are you going to do about it?”Russ will speak to Keyser Rotary on Thursday June 5th at 12:00 at the Pines in Keyser.