Feeding the Beast

Once upon a time in the olden days, we had Piggy Banks.   We would diligently put our stray coins in the bank, with the anticipation of one day taking a sledge-hammer to it to get at all the booty.

pig1

Such death and destruction for a few coins

For many of us, the idea of breaking it open was unpalatable, as we became attached to its cutness and also wanted to save and then use the money ONLY when we truly needed it.  Some might say we learned “fiscal responsiblity.”  Well, those days went the way of culottes and eight-tracks.  Today, we use modern money management techniques.

Take MOM, for example.  MOM has a really big Piggy Bank called the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF).  Sometimes money goes into it, sometimes money bypasses it, and a lot of times money from it is used for things not meant for it.  But it ALWAYS needs to be fed.

Meet Hogzilla:

hogzilla

MOM saves his bacon all the time using money from Hogzilla

Per the Maryland DOT site:  The Transportation Trust Fund was created in 1971 to establish a dedicated fund to support the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT). The use of this integrated trust fund approach allows Maryland tremendous flexibility to meet varying transportation service and infrastructure needs.

Sources of funds include motor fuel taxes, vehicle excise (titling) taxes, motor vehicle fees (registrations, licenses and other fees), and federal-aid.  In addition, the Trust Fund also includes corporate income taxes, sales and use taxes*, operating revenues (e.g., transit fares, port fees, airport fees), and bond proceeds.

Money revenue to fund the fund comes from a lot of different sources.  But the easiest source lies in your wallet, and the latest meme is that the fund is short because you have been getting a “gas pass” for 20 years:

Maryland has not raised its gas tax since 1992, and supporters (of the tax) are quick to point to its (the TTP) steep drop in buying power over two decades. 

In addition to less money in the TTF, MOM tends to raid it“borrow” what is there and doesn’t always pay it back:

Between 2003 and 2011, however, nearly $1 billion was taken from the transportation trust to tackle general-fund budget woes — two-thirds of it since 2007, when O’Malley assumed office. (WaPo Examiner)

Gosh darn it – it’s hard to manage a Piggy Bank that has a big hole in the bottom and money keeps falling out!  Don’t expect us to plug the hole – we’ll just get more money from YOU through taxation to keep feeding it!  Cute little piggy!

MOM sez that we have the most traffic congestion in the nation, and revenues from the 23.5-cent gas tax can no longer pay for  the work needed to bring the state’s roadznbrigez and mass transit up to date.  Raising taxes on YOU will fix all this, and more!

“Lack of up-to-date infrastructure also costs the state jobs, O’Malley said.  If the state can raise the additional dollars it needs for road and bridge  projects, between 7,500 and 8,000 construction jobs would be created. Businesses would also be more likely to locate in Maryland because of infrastructure.”

“This agreement is a balanced, fiscally responsible approach that will address  our traffic needs while also creating 44,000 jobs,” the governor said.

How fun to be MOM and just make stuff up!

The other side says this:

Governor O’Malley’s transportation funding plan is one big middle class tax hike that will affect your household.  O’Malley is proposing a massive 6% sales tax on gas that will destroy over 1,200 private sector jobs and evaporate over $250 million of economic activity in Maryland.

HMMMM, isn’t it more fun to believe MOM, especially when he ices the cake with this emotional observation:

In proposing the gas tax, O’Malley said he’s putting the prestige of his office on the line “because I don’t want my kids when I’m done here, if bridges start collapsing around the state, to ask me why I didn’t try and didn’t do something.”

It will actually be ALL YOUR FAULT.

cards

People can die from this, you know.  Better feed Hogzilla!

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