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OPINION: Sen. Gallivan takes up cause of socialism with gas tax measure

By Howard B. Owens

Sen. Patrick M. Gallivan apparently is eager to help increase profits for oil companies and chain gas stations.

He proposed legislation to cap taxes on gas.

This is economic nonsense. It's also a form of socialism, and like all socialist measures, it is doomed to fail.

In Genesee County, we have a front-row seat to how ineffective government efforts are to reign in gas prices.  While neighboring counties enacted gas tax holidays, the Genesee County Legislature, on the recommendation of County Manager Matt Landers, kept its local gas tax in place.  The result is that gas prices locally have risen and fallen right in line with the counties that cut gas taxes.  There is no evidence that consumers in neighboring counties have saved even a single penny on a gallon of gas.

If folks in Erie County aren't seeing a break in gas prices, who do you think is benefitting?  It's not the consumers. It's the oil companies and gas stations, in the form of higher profits. 

While local variables can cause differences in prices from region to region and even county to county when it comes to gas prices, fuel oil is a global market.  The price structure is set at a global scale and filters down to consumers from that basis.  There is nothing a local politician can do to change that, not if you believe in free markets, and despite regulations, cartels, and subsidies, at a global scale, oil and gas sales remain a competitive business. There are still numerous competing interests, each struggling to gain the upper hand, which leads to fluctuations in oil prices.

One tenet of socialism is central government control of prices. When that happens, it creates artificial winners and losers. That is what Gallivan is attempting to do with this legislation.  It's sad to watch the Republican Party drift further and further from conservative principles and embrace the tactics of progressives to try and control every aspect of our lives.  Gallivan has apparently joined the ranks of Progressive Republicans.  Hopefully, our local representatives, Steve Hawley and Ed Rath, won't follow suit and will oppose this brand of socialism.  

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