Let them eat pavement

Anchorage Republican Sen. Cathy Giessel, after taking a beating from her constituents, is retreating from her proposed and punitive $75-a-tire tax for purchase of studded tires and is suggesting, instead, a $50-a-tire tax, even for online purchases.

That makes the bite $200 for four tires instead of $300. Good grief. Nowadays, it is $5 a tire, or $20 a set. Mind you, Alaskans already are paying 30 cents a gallon in motor fuel taxes for road and bridge maintenance, and that is going up.

We have always wondered what it is about a recession, job layoffs, fiscal uncertainty and general economic malaise that make politicians salivate to lay on new taxes, but it seems as if tough times affect them like catnip affects our feline friends.

In her view, people driving with studded tires are causing a lot of damage to the highways, but taxing tires at $300 a set is ridiculous. Taxing tires at $200 a set is ridiculous.

Money taken from Alaskans for such a tax would simply go into the general fund and be spent on whatever tickles the Legislature’s fancy, just like tobacco tax revenue and alcohol tax revenue. Our bet is their fancy would not include roads.

We suggest an alternative. Let’s leave things the way they are. Instead of sticking it to Alaskans on a hunch, perhaps we could check with other northern countries where studs are used to see what they do. We could actually clear the roads so people would not be so inclined to use studs. And we could have scientists tell us definitively whether our roads are a mess because of studs or shoddy workmanship and materials.

There are a lot of questions. More taxes are not the answer.



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