Why a Colorado Springs Republican Wants to Raise the Gas Tax

July 10 2009, 10:29 AM
bensbergJim Bensberg, who drives a 1978 El Camino, wants to increase the state gasoline tax by 10 cents per gallon. In exchange, the Republican El Paso County commissioner says the state should scrap a new law that increased vehicle-registration fees to improve roads. Bensberg came up with the idea after learning he'd have to pay 116 percent more to register his car this year, according to The Denver Post. Bensberg figures he'll pay less if the gas tax is raised to 32 cents per gallon instead. "Colorado taxpayers should be given an opportunity to vote on a proposed gas-tax increase instead of bearing a compulsory across-the-board fee increase," he says, adding that he'd be willing to campaign with Democratic Governor Bill Ritter to make it happen. Ritter has turned down the offer, saying that taxpayers could rebel. Bensberg's proposed increase would make Colorado's the highest in the region; Utah's is 24.5 cents and Wyoming's is just 14 cents. The Colorado Independent notes that the local GOP loathes the new registration fees and has even sent out messages via Twitter that "Gov Ritter hates your car," evidence of the grassroots campaigning to come in next year's election. But taxes are trendy as the government looks to salvage programs. In Boulder, for example, voters might be asked to once again pass a property-tax hike to help schools, according to Boulder's Daily Camera.