To the editor:
In regards to Mr. Hakim-Shabazz’s opinion piece on the new gas tax (“Small Price to Pay,” July 20), I guess a good defense is a strong offense. I personally found his column very offensive.
I feel the question at hand is not “how does this tax affect an affluent attorney, editor and publisher who smokes $15 cigars and drinks $10 martinis?” but “how does it affect the common person?”
Admittedly, no one should feel an unbearable burden at this point because the tax is being levied at a time of relatively low gas prices, but they will go up again. When they do, we will be that much closer to a collapsed economy.
I am aware that our local economists agree that the price of gas has no bearing on the last or any recession for that matter, one even comparing the inconvenience to an extra topping on his pizza. The truth is, if one’s fuel expense goes from 5 to 10 percent or 10 to 20 percent of their budget they will not be able to balance said budget by ordering a pizza with one less topping.
They will not quit driving or eating; but what will happen, as we have seen, is that they will quit paying their mortgage, especially if they have little equity in their house. This, of course, causes a domino effect in the banking and housing industries.
Do we need good roads? Of course, but when we witness money being wasted on feel-good projects that do not help and sometimes even hamper traffic flow, we have to wonder if our already high highway taxes are being spent wisely.
On the promise made by my elected representative that all taxes collected at the pump will go for road construction, I believe that just like I believe all TIF goes directly to the TIF districts, voters get a say on major school construction and wheel taxes will go to resurfacing neighborhood streets.