An attempt to raise the gasoline tax having been rejected by the voters last November, State Sen. Gary Romine (R-Farmington) has proposed a new way to fund road repairs. His bill would change licensing fees, so that the better gas mileage your car gets, the more you pay.

“This is really about equity,” Romine told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Every car owner pays his or her fair share for road maintenance. I thought there might be more to it, so I contacted my highly-placed Republican source, Even Deeper Throat. We met at midnight in a Jefferson City parking garage.

EDT: This bill is an elegant solution to a difficult problem. Let me give you some background. Thanks to the unceasing efforts of my Republican colleagues, Missouri has long had the second-lowest gas tax in the nation. Now the state’s roads and bridges are crumbling –

DL: Not altogether surprising, is it?

EDT: – but our voters would punish us for raising their taxes, so what we need is a tax that hits Democrats hard and spares Republicans.

DL: I see. How does it work?

EDT: We target their weaknesses. Democrats are nambie-pambies who coddle the environment. These wimps are afraid of global warming, so they try to cut down on the carbon they’re pumping into the atmosphere, so they buy fuel-efficient cars, hybrids and electric vehicles. And walk right into our tax trap.

DL: Aren’t you worried about trapping a few Republicans, too?

EDT: Any Republican who believes in global warming is a RINO.

DL: How can the rest of you be so sure there’s no such thing as global warming?

EDT: Our beloved President Trump has proved it conclusively, mostly recently when he pointed out that as Amy Klobuchar announced her candidacy, it was snowing in February in Minnesota. Ergo, there is no global warming.

DL: What about people just trying to save on gas? Who’d be hit hard by a fee increase.

EDT: You mean poor people? They can take out a loan.

DL: But a Hummer weighs 6,400 pounds, and its owner pays $24, while a Prius weighs 2,921 pounds, and its owner pays $250. Isn’t the Hummer causing more wear and tear on the road?

EDT: I don’t see your point.

DL: Well, how can that be equitable, as Sen. Romine claims?

EDT: Republicans hate taxes. Democrats like them. So it’s equitable for them to pay more tax.

DL: I’m beginning to grasp the brilliance of this bill.

EDT: I’m proposing an amendment that will make it even better. I’m going to initiate licensing for bicyclists. They’ll pay $350.

DL: But the average bicycle weighs about 200 pounds including its rider. They inflict immeasurably small wear and tear on the roads.

EDT: But it’s so deliciously easy to stoke public indignation against bicyclists. Helmeted, Spandex-clad marauders, arrogantly flaunting their health and fitness while holding up traffic and tearing up our roads and not paying one cent in maintenance. Time to end the free ride!

DL: They’re not contributing any carbon to the atmosphere, either.

EDT: I bet they’re all Democrats – except for the ones who are illegal immigrants.

DL: Are you planning other Democrat-specific tax bills?

EDT: Yes, we’re going to build on the good work we’ve already done with plastic bags. Some municipalities were trying to limit their use, but we in the state legislature put a stop to that.

DL: Aren’t Republicans supposed to be in favor of local control?

EDT: Socialist foreign countries like Britain and Democratic states are running wild with bag restrictions, and we in Jefferson City have to step in. As Rep. Dan Shaul (R- Arnold) said, “I saw what happened in California, and I didn’t necessarily care for what was happening in California.”

DL: You mean, they don’t have plastic bags blowing down the streets and festooning the trees, the way we do?

EDT: We can’t allow anyone to trample on our precious freedom to throw stuff away without a second thought.

DL: You do know that by weight there’s more plastic than fish in the oceans?

EDT: Fake news.

DL: What does your bill actually do?

EDT: Puts a tax on reusable cloth bags. We’re also planning to slap a tax on those websites that help people cut down on their junk mail.

DL: What do you have against them?

EDT:  They interfere with business. If a cable-TV company wants to send out a solicitation every single day, consumers should just have to put up with it. No more whining!

DL: Absolutely. You never hear a complaint from the millions of trees that are cut down unnecessarily. Thank you, sir. I think I’ve had about all I can take.

EDT: My pleasure. Next time you call, we’ll talk about my plans to tax solar panels, programmable thermostats and water-conserving shower heads. There’s no limit to the ways we can make Democrats pay for pampering the planet.