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GOP weighs both tax cut, new plate fee

While U.S. House Republicans refused last week to support a minor income tax increase on Americans making more than $1 million a year, Indiana Republicans may well be moving to increase taxes regressively on every Hoosier who owns a car.

Less than seven years after legislators approved the Indiana Toll Road lease that was supposed to generate enough money for a 10-year road plan, one of the state’s conservative fiscal leaders last week floated the idea of adding a $20 to $50 “license plate tax” on every Hoosier vehicle. That, of course, is in addition to the license fees and excise taxes and wheel taxes Hoosier already pay, and it would be applied the same to the owner of a 2013 Lexus – who can probably afford it – as to the owner of a 1993 Grand Am.

And here’s another factor that northeast Indiana residents should consider: Much of the money could go to road projects that would greatly benefit – you guessed it – Indianapolis.

Here’s a better idea: Instead of cutting Hoosiers’ income tax by a miniscule amount, direct all the revenue from the excise tax to roads and also direct the sales tax collected on gasoline to roads instead of to the general fund.

Guns, medicine

People with seasonal allergies and sinus problems know well the heavy restrictions on buying decongestant products, such as Sudafed and Zyrtec D, that use pseudoephedrine. Buyers have to sign for the product at a drug store and are strictly limited on how much they can buy.

People with less-than-stellar pasts know that in most states they can buy guns at a gun show or from other private sellers without undergoing a background check.

They also know that buying 10 assault rifles with 100 magazines is no more difficult than buying a .38 revolver.

As gun advocates claim they are open to a “conversation” about guns, how about starting with this question:

Why can it sometimes be easier to buy a gun than a decongestant?

Voter info

Last week, an editorial regarding the future of the Allen County Voter Registration office described difficulty in contacting the office.

Barry Schust, the Republican registration board member and co-director of the office, responded apologetically.

The relatively new phone system for the office requires three separate steps to move phones from voice mail to a live person, and it wasn’t done on the day I called. Schust said he instituted a system to make sure that doesn’t happen again.

And he acknowledged that some vital information had been stripped from the office’s website (, an action taken by a webmaster outside the voter office. The information has been restored, and he correctly pointed out that the additional information had been on the site until after the Nov. 6 election.

While there have been some insider complaints regarding the office, none have involved Schust.

Tracy Warner, editorial page editor, has worked at The Journal Gazette since 1981. He can be reached at 461-8113 or by email,