A special interest group called the California Drivers Alliance is sounding the alarm. We in the Golden State are in imminent danger of assault:
On January 1, 2015, a new hidden gasoline tax will go into effect. ... There is still time to stop it, but we must act now. Contact state officials today and urge them to put the brakes on this new hidden gas tax!A “hidden” tax? Scandalous! I did some research.
First of all, the California Drivers Alliance is one of those industry-funded “astroturf” organizations. The faux grassroots movement is bankrolled by the California Independent Oil Marketers Association. Second, the so-called hidden tax is nothing more than the state's cap and trade program, administered by the California Air Resources Board. I could not resist posting a snide comment on the California Drivers Alliance's Facebook page:
How can a gas tax be “hidden” if was enacted by Assembly Bill 32, a 2006 measure that is public record and was defended by the voters' overwhelming rejection of Proposition 23? Besides, oil companies who are eager to compete in the free market could choose to trim their profits a bit to maintain the attractiveness to consumers of their product.People hastened to educate me. Here are some paraphrases, edited to correct misspellings and delete expletives:
Why can't stupid libtards understand that corporations don't pay taxes? They pass them on to us and we pay them!The immediate lesson I learned is that we should do away with the personal income tax and stick it to the corporations. It shouldn't matter, since we're going to pick up the tab anyway when we purchase goods and services from those corporations. Right?
Tax, tax, tax! That's socialism for you.
The tax is hidden because people don't know about it!!!!!
Take an econ class, you idiot! Higher taxes kill jobs!
Taxes on gas producers are taxes on drivers!
I also learned that the free market doesn't function very well. The members of the California Independent Oil Marketers Association have no choice but to pass along the entire 10 cents per gallon (usually misstated by the California Drivers Alliance as 16 cents to 76[!] cents per gallon). If anyone dared attract more customers and more revenue by eating part of the AB 32 surcharge, evidently it would not be enough to restore their profits, which can never be high enough.
That's econ for you.