My family likes to play a game called “Buxton Slalom” when we’re out driving. You probably play a version of it in your town. Buxton Slalom is when you swerve to avoid potholes in the road. The rules are simple. You lose if you go into the oncoming lane, or if you hit the pothole. How do you win? Good question. I’ll let you know when I figure it out.

Friends, Mainers, countrymen, lend me your ears. I come not to praise taxation, but to ask for it. Seriously, legislators: Please raise the gas tax so we can fix some of the potholes that dot our roads like zits on my face the week before my period. And they are just as annoying.

I know this is a controversial proposal. I know Republicans get really, really emotional about taxes, the way I get emotional the week before my period. Taxes aren’t the be-all and end-all for me, but I understand that there is an argument against raising the income tax rate: Rich folks might very well leave the state to avoid it.

But that’s the beauty of the gas tax: There’s no escaping it, unless you use public transportation (nearly non-existent in Maine), drive an electric car (expensive) or bike everywhere (a chilly option). And while Mainers are famously frugal – myself included – nobody is going to move away from Maine because gas costs an extra 2 cents per gallon. I won’t even go to the gas station on the opposite side of the road for 2 cents per gallon. Call me a crazy spendthrift.

My daily commute takes me through Gorham, Buxton, Saco and Biddeford. Those are four very different communities. You know what they gave in common?

You guessed it! Potholes!

We can either pay publicly in taxes now and fix some of them, or we can pay privately later in the form of broken axles, busted transmissions and countless work skirts stained with boiling hot coffee that spills if you lose a round of Buxton Slalom. (Not that that’s happened to me or anything.)

I saw a news story a few years ago – in England, an anonymous artist got fed up with endless potholes. As a form of public protest, and to call attention to the issue, he drew – well, how do I phrase this? – penises. He used industrial-level chalk to draw giant penises on and around the potholes. And what do you know? Some of them got patched.

Now, I’m not saying we should do that in Maine. I wouldn’t, because committing crimes makes me very nervous. Besides, we Americans aren’t quite as stuffy as the English. The only thing that could possibly be more offensive to us than neon penises in the roadway would be … taxes.

But it doesn’t seem like crazy liberal government overreach to raise, very slightly (2 or 3 cents per gallon, guys!), the tax on a product that almost all of us use in order to pay for upkeep to a public good used by, again, pretty much every single Mainer and millions of tourists. (And don’t even get me started on the Poland Spring trucks. That’s a whole ’nother column.)

If it helps conservatives come around to it, we don’t even have to call it a “tax.” Let me get my thesaurus, we can think of another phrase – a fee? A duty? A tithe? How about “a capitation”?

It does feel weird to ask to be charged money. But while it is true that government can’t solve every problem, repair of the public roads is one problem that it definitely can.  And we are working on repealing the tampon tax, so you can consider that your good tax repeal deed of the session. I’m sure George Washington won’t mind if you raise the gas tax by an extra 2 cents. Aren’t you legislators tired of having your ribcages jolted every time you drive to Augusta?

Living in Maine means winters, frost heaves, road salt and big logging trucks. Our roads will be potholed – there is no way out of it (or around it). We can’t opt out of it. It’s part and parcel with our territory. But we can choose whether or not to do anything about it, and where and how to place the cost.

Happy Easter. The Lord is risen. May the gas tax be risen as well.

Victoria Hugo-Vidal is a Maine millennial. She can be contacted at:

[email protected]

Twitter: mainemillennial



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