ITR: Gas tax increase was ‘bait and switch’

Oil PricesBy Iowans for Tax Relief


Proponents for RAISING the Gas Tax told Iowans, “We can’t afford to wait!”, “Iowa’s bridges are unsafe for school buses and ambulances!”, “The fuel tax increase will take the place of counties bonding”, and “Your auto repair bill will be reduced”.   The constant theme pounded into Iowans’ ears was, “Our roads and bridges are in terrible, dangerous condition and must be repaired quickly.”

But now the Department of Transportation has posted their priorities for how they will spend the first $33 million generated for primary roads by the gas tax increase during the four months from March 1 through the end of the fiscal year on June 30, 2015.  That list includes $4.5 million to purchase land for future highway expansion and $2.7 million for guardrails.  That’s $7.2 million of urgent repairs, right?

The DOT’s priorities list includes ONLY two bridges, one for Deck Overlay and one for Rehab.  According to the DOT’s website, neither of those two bridges is considered to be Structurally Deficient.  The two bridges are only getting surface repairs.  They are not considered to be unsafe nor are they on highly traveled roads.  Remember those warnings that school buses were in imminent danger of falling through unsafe and deficient bridges?  The gas tax increase had to be rammed through hastily so the DOT could make surface repairs on two already safe bridges, right?

When you compare what the promoters said to persuade Iowans and Legislators to trust them with MORE of our money and how the Iowa DOT has actually chosen to spend it, it’s clear the people of Iowa were duped.  If they had told you they wanted to raise the gas tax to hire more employees, increase salaries, buy land to expand an existing highway, and resurface two bridges that aren’t structurally deficient, would you have been in favor of that increase?  Would the Legislature have passed it?

As the Watchdog for your wallet, working to defend you against a bloated government that wants more of your hard-earned dollars, we believe Iowans have been deceived by Legislators, lobbyists, and organizations that had much to gain from this 45% tax increase.  Iowa government leaders at every level approved this plan and forced it through the system in a less than honorable way.  We believe there should be accountability for these actions.

Please fill out this quick survey to let your voice be heard.  Based on the way your money is being spent compared to what you were told, what do you think should happen?