A Senate candidate from Washington has done something that few politicians do in the middle of a heated campaign – suggest a tax hike. While people up for office usually shy away from such talk, Republican Michael Baumgartner hasn't and suggests using the additional revenue to provide better veterans healthcare, according to The Seattle Times.
Specifically, Baumgartner's plan involves increasing the federal gas tax by one cent to 19.4 cents per gallon. Though it may seem like a small increase, he said it could raise an additional $2 billion. Currently, the money from the tax goes toward improving infrastructure, but Baumgartner believes it could be better spent.
"Right now, we're charging ourselves a very high cost for infrastructure because of high labor and environmental regulations," he told the newspaper.
While the proposal may not come to fruition, it does underscore the importance of finding new ways to pay for veterans healthcare, especially with 68,000 troops still waiting to come home from Afghanistan. According to a recent report from the Congressional Budget Office, the total cost of providing healthcare to all veterans could reach between $69 and $85 billion by 2020.