Americans for Tax Reform urges President Bush to veto any increase in the gasoline tax or any highway bill that exceeds the President\’s proposal

WASHINGTON – In a letter to President Bush today, Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) called on President Bush to veto any long-term highway authorization bill that increases the gasoline tax or exceeds the administration\’s requested $247 billion. With spending spinning out of control, the pressure is mounting to raise taxes, but ATR believes a promised veto from the president could put an end to some members\’ impulse to tax and spend.

"Americans pay enough taxes already. The gas tax is not a tax that \’doesn\’t count.\’ It is a painful tax that hits every family in the country-the overwhelming majority more directly than any other tax. Parents\’ trips to work and soccer practice are going to become more expensive," said taxpayer advocate Grover Norquist , president of ATR. "Mom and Dad have enough to worry about without the federal government tacking another burden on their transportation budget."

Currently, the federal tax is 18.4 cents per gallon, and state gas taxes average just over 22 cents, according to the Federal Highway Administration. This means that American taxpayers are currently paying more than $50 billion annually in taxes on gasoline. This represents an annual gas tax of $660 for the average family, and every penny increase in the gas tax increases that family\’s annual tax bill by $25.

"If the current proposal to increase the gas tax by 5.4 cents is enacted, families could see their yearly tax burden increase by $135, or a total gas tax of almost $800 annually. And just as bad, the decision to index the tax to inflation would create an automatic tax increase every year. What a monumentally bad idea, " said Norquist.

With non-defense spending soaring, the taxpayer advocacy group is urging President Bush to veto any highway bill that exceeds his requested $247 billion.

"Even after setting aside the proposed gas tax increase, spending is way up. President Bush was right to target it in his State of the Union Speech. We\’re calling on him to ready his veto pen to get Congress started on the road to fiscal control," the ATR president said.