Patrick Gleason, vice president of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), called on state lawmakers this week to reject a stand-alone tax increase in favor of pairing it with “pro-growth” tax cuts elsewhere in the budget.
“If it’s a stand-alone gas tax, we’ll be urging them to oppose it,” Gleason recently said on the Present Crisis Podcast, hosted by conservative Alabama writer J. Pepper Bryars.
ATR has a history of fighting against tax increase. According to its website, it has launched major advertising campaigns against tax increases in the past.
Gleason explained on the podcast it would be better for Alabama to first reform how its gas taxes are already spent, ending the practice of having them fund things that aren’t associated with transportation. Then, he said, pair a gas tax increase with reductions in taxes that stifle economic growth, like business taxes and personal income taxes, so that the overall tax burden doesn’t increase.
“You could see a package taking shape that would not only be something that Americans for Tax Reform (would) not oppose, but could be something that we supported,” Gleason explained.
Gleason looks at Alabama as an outlier right now — a a Republican governor following the footsteps of Democratic governors in states like Illinois, Connecticut, and California introducing a gas tax hike.
“One of the exceptions to that is Alabama where we’re seeing a Republican governor push for a gas tax increase,” Gleason said. “That’s really made the state an outlier.”
Gleason believes being the only state raising taxes in the southeast could harm the state’s efforts to attract businesses.
“You’re competing with states that have been very aggressive in improving their codes and enacting pro-growth tax reforms,” Gleason said, pointing to recent tax cuts and major reforms in Mississippi, Tennessee, Florida and other nearby states. “You’re surrounded by a lot of very competitive states that are already competitive in terms of what their tax and regulatory climates look like, but they’re still aggressively looking for ways to improve.”
ART plans to study Alabama’s gas tax bill more in depth once it’s introduced.
“We will be vigilant,” he said.
You can listen to the interview on the Present Crisis Podcast below: