Gas Tax Pitch Sits Uneasily Next To GOP's New Working-Class Appeal

President Joe Biden wants to pay for a new infrastructure plan by taxing corporations, but Republicans would prefer to use gasoline tax revenues — a stance that some say sits uneasily with their pitch as a working-class party.

Biden’s original proposal was to raise the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%, but Republicans have said that is a nonstarter. GOP lawmakers have instead floated indexing the federal gas tax to inflation, which would raise it over time.

A preference for consumption taxes over levies on corporations that could potentially hurt competitiveness, job creation, or wage growth reflects mainstream conservative economics. But Republicans have become increasingly reliant on blue-collar and non-college voters in recent election cycles, which has made the party competitive in the Rust Belt at the presidential level for the first time since the 1980s.

“Look, there is a real hunger in this country for ‘actual infrastructure’ (bridges, roads, dams, etc.), so what congressional Republicans should do is take a page out of Harry Reid’s playbook and go behind closed doors, settle on a plan and funding, and hold to it no matter what, because Democrats simply don’t have the numbers in the Senate,” said Republican strategist Ford O’Connell.

Still, many Republicans think gas tax tinkering should be a nonstarter.

“Any talk of a new gas tax or gas-tax indexing needs to be scuttled immediately,” O’Connell said. “The reason is simple: By canceling the Keystone XL pipeline, closing ANWR, and refusing new permits for drilling of fossil fuels on federal lands, the Biden administration has already imposed an onerous gas tax on the working class of this nation, which has resulted in higher prices at the pump. Congressional Republicans would do well to remember who it is they are fighting for.”

Read more from W. James Antle III at the Washington Examiner

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published this page in In The News 2021-06-14 10:10:16 -0400
Analysis & Political Strategy