How Super is Paying Taxes?

This cartoon was published by WUMO in 2015,

Superman is arguing that he does not want to pay taxes for roads since he flies everywhere!  (I think he probably filed under Clark Kent, but that is another story.) Superman’s complaint is that he should only pay for what he uses reflects the question of public sector spending and how that ties into each individual person uses/requirements.  (In fact, the gas tax is indirectly based on usage- you drive more, you pay more tax- here is a good discussion on the history of the gas/fuel tax.)

While most spending on highway infrastructure is funded by the Federal Gas tax, there are funds (such as from the general revenue) that support infrastructure investment.  (Missouri did a good citizen’s guide to transportation that is worth a look-!, as well as a New York Times editorial on New Jersey’s gas tax and the associated comments  While gas taxes cover other activities, such as the gas tax pays for transit programs, there remain expectations that a consistent system lies outside one’s front door.

Everyone requires different transportation needs, based on location, access, but even driver patterns change over a lifetime (  Like all taxes, the linkage between transportation taxes and investment is not equitable, not is there any way to really make such taxes neutral to all parties.  Although Superman can fly, he needs access to goods and other services. (I wonder if Batman pays fuel taxes for the Batmobile.)  Someone made Superman’s costume (Edna Mode, or maybe he bought it online!)  As such, Superman enjoys the benefits of public investment in infrastructure, even if he does not drive, and thus does not pay any fuel taxes.

A Checklist for Economic Development- A Dead Poet Speaks

As I was putting together a sample market study for Scott County Missouri for the ITTS member states (Working Paper 13), there is a lot of information regarding transportation, economic activity, and a host of elements concerning sources of additional economic data, especially when combined with the Executive Briefing Book (Working Paper 21).  However, know this source data does not necessarily mean this information will generate additional economic growth independent of some active leadership.  That question could be summarized as “how do I tell a story that is actionable”.

After writing those reports, I realized that there are two stages to this quest to attract and retain economic development – I call the first step “the Dream”, where a vision is created and sold to regional and potential partners, while there is a second stage I call “the How”.  This is the actionable part of economic development, where leadership and commitment are necessary to move a project forward.

The dream…

  • Elevate your branding
    • Zero in on potential customers
    • Reach consensus with local partners
    • Aggressively identify competitive assets attractive to all parties

The how..

  • Pursue realistic timelines
    • Outline budgetary and regulatory approval needs as early as possible
    • Understand your competitor’s capabilities
    • Negotiate project review checkpoints
    • Deploy resources until completed

(And yes, the acrostic is a poet’s name. I love playing with the Acrostic word games.  One of his most famous poems is an impression of a metro station – another transportation angle!)