Labeling the Gas Tax

The gas tax should be viewed as that, a tax, and anything else is fundamentally wrong, writes Alex Marshall.

Marshall says a gas tax should not be considered a user fee because unlike a tax, a user fee gives the consumer a choice to either pay, or not to pay. He sites the fee to enter and park at a national park, as well as the use of toll roads as examples that incur user fees. People have the choice to pay to park, or to use the less traveled tollway.

"To qualify as a user fee, you must have a choice as to whether or not you pay it. It also must relate directly to a particular service that you can accept or reject, and to the number of times you use that service."

Marshall adds,

"Why do all these labels matter? Aren't they just semantics? No, because labels influence policies."

Full Story: What to Call the Gas Tax: Not Just Semantics


Prepare for the AICP* Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245
Book cover of the Guide to Graduate Planning Programs 4th Edition

Thinking about Grad School?

The Planetizen Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs is the only comprehensive ranking and listing of graduate urban planning programs available.
Starting at $24.95
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $16.95 a month

Essential Readings in Urban Planning

Planning on taking the AICP* Exam? Register for Planetizen's AICP * Exam Preparation Course to save $25.