King: Local Option Transportation Tax Not the Right Answer for Texas

June 6, 2009

Fort Worth Star-Telegram

State Representative Phil King

No state representative worked harder this legislative session to solve North Texas’ traffic congestion than my good friend Vicki Truitt. I share Truitt’s concerns and sense of urgency on this issue; however, we disagree on the funding solution that she and others proposed to the Legislature and on the practicality of commuter rail service.

The new transportation taxes proposed this session failed to acknowledge current economic times, the recession, growing unemployment and the credit crisis. Texas families already pay an average 32.7 percent of their limited income to the government in local, state and federal taxes.

Texas families and businesses simply have no more money to give to government, and particularly not now. Senate Bill 855 and House Bill 9 sought to authorize new tax options that included additional fees for car registration and vehicle emissions. The final version called for local elections to impose a motor fuel tax up to 10 cents per gallon, up to a doubling of the driver license fee from $24 to $48, and up to a $60 vehicle registration fee.