Compare this experience to Washington State's gas tax hike in 2005. The tax increase was sold as a way of keeping gas taxes in line with inflation. The money went directly to pay for specific road improvements. Local officials blanketed TV, radio, and smalltown newspapers with op-eds and editorial interviews pointing out the tangible improvements in road safety, traffic congestion, and construction employment that the new revenues would bring. An initiative to repeal the tax increase was soundly defeated, and in 2006 state Democrats expanded their majority in the Senate.
Passing tax increases is hard, but it's less difficult if you can point to goodies that everyone will get to use as a consequence of the tax increase. This is one of those cases where communications are genuinely a big part of the issue. Creating a new bill for everyone to pay and that is hard to administrate doesn't help anyone.
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