It depends on what your definitions of tax, increase, and “is” are

I’m amazed by the furor over my reference to an article that 1) David Schweikert sponsored a tax increase on diesel gasoline in the legislature and 2) the breathless assertions that we at SA celebrate diversity of opinion while profusely apologizing for the “errors” of the writers with whom we disagree.

Here are the facts that have not yet been disputed:

The road usage tax at the time was a job killer for the trucking industry.  A group of legislators  attempted to repeal the tax to create jobs.  The tax cut would have decreased government revenue.  The solution was to increase a different tax, the tax on diesel fuel, to cover the shortfall.

Here is a quote from the article we’re all using as a source (an Arizona Daily Star article was cited as though it somehow refutes the allegation, but in reality the Associated Press articles run in multiple newspapers and it is exactly the same article).

“To offset that loss, Steffey (a sponsor of the bill at issue) proposes to amend the bill to add 8 cents to the state tax on diesel fuel.”

So as it stood, the diesel fuel tax in Arizona was 18 cents.  If the amended bill passed, it would have been 26 cents.  The article also points out that this would have been one of the highest rates in the West.  Let’s agree that since the government is setting the rate, collecting it, and spending it, that it is in fact a tax.

The article lists David Schweikert as a sponsor.  Therefore, David Schweikert sponsored a bill that would have increased the tax rate on diesel gasoline from 18 cents to 26 cents.

You can argue that the road use tax hurt the economy, that it was unfair, high, and cumbersome to collect.  You can argue that the revenue shortfall had to be covered.  You can argue that the truckers welcomed the tax increase, especially in light of the road use tax repeal.  You can even argue that the revenue shortfall could not have been closed by cutting spending, coupled with an increase in revenue from the expansion of the domestic trucking industry.

You cannot, however, deny that 1) this was a tax increase on diesel fuel and 2) David Schweikert was a sponsor.


  1. This sounds like the kind of tax “relief” Democrats support. Tax your enemies. Reward your allies.

    Supporting this legislation now would be a clear violation of the Taypayer Protection Pledge.

  2. Big Sister says

    Glad to see you make the point. I take back my idea that it was a set-up to let Schweik make a splash.

  3. I’ll say I am impressed that SA let you write your mind since they have been in bed with Schweikert since he entered. The amount of garbage being pulled off this guy’s record should be a clear indicator that he’s not the best candidate. Many of the things I would expect to be the most effective arguments against Mitchell and the Dems, Schweikert has done himself, in effect, rendering those arguments worthless. We need someone with a relatively clean slate that can legitimately go after the incumbent on the issues that are important to conservatives without being labeled a hypocrite.

  4. Richard Wayne says

    So if a legislator supported a bill that would eliminate payroll and home property taxes and included the raising of the sales tax by 1% with the net result for Arizona workers and property owners of a net tax decrease for Arizona workers who do not work off the books as well as all Arizona home owners, would you put out a piece that stated that the legislator increased taxes and only cite the sales tax without highlighting the fact that overall Arizona residents and workers received a tax cut?

    If you did so, would you be surprised that others felt that you had a personal agenda and that you were deliberately misleading the public for your own personal bias?

    So, Publius, why don’t you come clean and openly disclose who you are supporting. Even those in the Main Stream Media disclose that piece of information.

    No one else but DSW would have allowed you to post this current junk – – and I for one am sorry that he did. I respect him, but I disagree with him on this occasion.

  5. AZpublius says

    I think it is great this was posted. It shows the anatomy of a political attack. Publius documents all the fairly reasonable justifications why Schweikert may have done this, but proves that this kind of campaigning is not about justifications, rationale, or even sound economic thinking. It is about whether you can pin a turd on your opponent and make it stick. I’m not voting for Schweikert but this is not a reason why.

  6. We actually went back and scanned a copy of the journal entry on HB2239’s Third Read in the House. While the roll call of who voted FOR the bill shows that it was widely supported by conservative Republicans, what was more revealing was who voted AGAINST it.

  7. roger maris says

    I wonder what Publius got on the SAT test?

    Per the Article Road-Use taxes were $13,500 per year for AZ truck drivers while the National average was $5,500. That is an $8,000 per year difference.

    If the so-called tax increase was $.08 per gallon…. It would take 100,000 gallons until this proposition was a loser for Arizona Truck Drivers.

    Since the average Semi Truck gets 5 to 6 MPG then one Driver would have to drive 500,000 in one year for this not to make sense…

    Keep in mind… That is 500,000 miles per year in ARIZONA ONLY. Consequently, if a driver was to drive the 500,000 miles at a 65 mph average, 365 days a year…. That driver would be on the road over 21 hours per day…

    Therefore if Billy hopped in his truck at point A and Susie left in her truck from point b…. Your take on this so-called Tax increase still sucks….

  8. Buddy Breon says

    I’m thinking this blog should reconsider letting this writer use his base to libel a respected Republican candidate for Congress. Don’t we want to win that seat back?

    I’m all for free speech, but the guy should do it on his own blog rather than bring disrespect to the Sononan Alliance. This blog has paid its dues to earn the respect of conservative readers.

  9. Roger- the problem is the bill hurt odinary folks in Arizona, not that it hurt the truckers.

  10. roger maris says


    OK… Let me explain simple economics…
    If the transportation provider is paying less to deliver the goods… One and All pay less for said goods. Its really not that difficult. ALL “Ordinary Folks” then benefit… With an additional benefit to those who’s income is derived by driving a truck.

    However, just for arguments sake… How many “Ordinary Folks” really drive diesel vehicles? Since I know you do not have a clue… I am here to help. The National Average of Diesel Car Ownership is 1%.

    Seeing how most diesels are either Mercedes or F-250’s (or some knock off of…) I don’t think those “Ordinary Folks” really noticed 8 cents per gallon. Especially given the long outstanding discrepancy between the cost of diesel and regular unleaded.

    Hence… in ’93 this measure was truly tax reform voted yea by ALL THE REPUBLICANS IN THE LEGISLATURE… Are you then also willing to condemn the entire Republican party for this as well?

    But by all means… take an issue that was brilliant 15 years ago and bastardize it now to try to justify why David’s candidacy is unacceptable…

  11. Roger- If it was brilliant, I am sure that a Republican Senate, House and Governor would have been able to get the bill through. And please don’t use the 15 years ago excuse. All David has is his “15 years ago I was in the House Leadership” to run on.

  12. roger maris says


    They did get the bill through and its now a law… But don’t let the pesky details like the truth get in the way…

    Your condemnation of this legislation is an indictment of all the conservatives in the Legislature of the ’90’s.

    Nice job… you might as well take your talking points from the DCCC from now on out…

  13. I thought that’s where the talking points were coming from? Via their local gal here in Phoenix of course.

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