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A Gas Tax Makes the Most Sense for California


Publication Date: 
August 11, 2009
Op-Ed or News Article
Bibliography: Joseph Bankman, A Gas Tax Makes the Most Sense for California, San Jose Mercury News, August 11, 2009, pg. A9.


The bipartisan commission set up to reform California's tax system is considering reducing income tax rates and increasing the gas tax. That's a great idea.

The income tax raises revenue but affects behavior in unfavorable ways. A tax on business discourages investment, and a tax on personal income discourages savings or labor. Increasing the tax on gas will also affect behavior, but in a favorable direction. Californians will drive less, and that will reduce pollution, urban sprawl and greenhouse gas emissions.