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Government & Taxes: Monkey See, Monkey Do!

Earlier this month, this Growler noted that the National Taxpayers Union was urging Virginia Governor Mark Warner to take an 'active leadership' role in cutting the Commonwealth's fuel tax. And, last Friday, we were happy to report that Oklahoma voters handily defeated (87% to 13%) an initiative to raise their state's gas tax.

The Tax Foundation reported last week that one reason gas prices are so high is that local, state, and federal gas taxes consume 45.9 cents per gallon on average. They also point out that although the federal gas tax is now 18.4 cents, it began in 1932 "as a temporary levy with a rate of just 1 cent per gallon." It was then made permanent in 1941 when it was also raised to 1.5 cents per gallon. In 1951, the tax was raised to 2 cents to help pay for the Korean War. It was raised to 4 cents in 1959 to help pay for the interstate highway system, and wasn't raised again until 1981.

According to the Tax Foundation, "In 1919, Oregon became the first state in the nation to place a tax on gasoline," and in "monkey see, monkey do" fashion, "every state has subsequently adopted this form of taxation." Virginians pay combined local, state and federal gasoline taxes of 37.7 cents per gallon.

The Tax Foundation reports the "annual gas tax burden (is) roughly $271 for every man, woman, and child in the United States." Keep that in mind the next time you fill-up the gas tank!