President Donald Trump in an interview Monday said he would consider a gasoline tax increase if it paid for highway infrastructure. The new president may not realize that the federal government has not imposed one since 1993.
And there's one big reason why: When gasoline prices go up, presidential approval ratings go down.
That's why Dan Clifton, head of policy research at Strategas, believes the idea floated by Trump this week is a nonstarter.
"We remain highly skeptical of Congress working in a bipartisan manner on tax reform even if infrastructure is included. And a gasoline tax increase won't be enough for Democratic support if tax rates are being lowered in a meaningful way. Consumers are very sensitive to gasoline prices and historically voters have rejected ballot initiatives to raise the gasoline tax even when the money is used for infrastructure," he wrote in a note.
The Harvard-Harris poll asked voters what they thought about a series of possible surcharges, and one of the least popular was a gasoline tax, with 77 percent against it. The online poll of 2,027 voters was conducted in mid-April. The most popular surcharge? Taxing the rich.