Liberal states reject gas taxes — will Oregon make this mistake?
By Taxpayer Association of Oregon
Two very liberal states, Massachusetts and Michigan, have recently rejected gas taxes at the ballot by spectacular margins.
Michigan’s gas tax was defeated by voters by 80%. The defeat made it the worst defeat of a constitutional measure in nearly a half century. It failed in all of 83 counties. Having a gas tax fail so miserably that it becomes the most hated measure in the state’s history is not an uncommon event. A few years ago, Oklahoma defeated a gas tax increase by 87% making it the largest defeat of any ballot measure in their history. If you wish to go down in history as a colossal failure– a gas tax is a good way to do it.
In 2014, Massachusetts repealed their gas tax index measure at the ballot. This is a state with less than 12% Republicans. Clearly, gas taxes are a populist issue that cross party lines as both lower and middle class voters find it hard to afford the cost of gas.
How about Oregon?
Oregon has a history of gas tax defeats. The last time Oregonians have voted on a gas tax they have defeated it by large margins. In 1978 a gas tax increase was defeated by 74% of the voters. Two years later in 1980 voters rejected another gas tax increase with a 66% NO vote.
Oregonians have rejected four times using gas and fuel revenue for other purposes such as police, parks and other dedicated earmarks.