Legislators Look to Gas Tax Changes to Help With State Road Repairs

By: Anthony Sabella Email
By: Anthony Sabella Email

It's been a few days since the first spike at the pump, but the shock is still there.

"I looked at [the price] and I had sticker-shock," said Jennifer Casey of DeWitt. "This is the first time I've bought gas since it's been this high."

With no end in sight, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is being careful as it prepares to discuss two new bills, Thursday, that would help fund state road repairs.

"If we choose to go with a fuel tax, it'll probably be done in the form of a wholesale gas tax," said Rep. Wayne Schmidt (R), Chair of the committee.

That's the idea behind House Bills 4358 and 4359, which were introduced by Schmidt. According to Schmidt, the bills would change the gas tax from the current rate of 19 cents per gallon to a six percent tax rate at the wholesale level. They would also increase the tax on diesel fuel, putting it on par with regular gas.

Rep. Tom Cochran, who also sits on the committee, says the change would allow the tax to fluctuate with gas prices, bringing dollars into the state and solving future issues in the process.

"If there's an inflationary piece to this, then you might be able to avoid having to come back to this legislatively," he said.

Schmidt believes any effect a wholesale tax has on consumers will be minimal, but he says it's too early to tell. In the meantime, the roads are getting worse.

"If we don't do something soon, one, it's going to cost much more down the road and, two, we're already losing our competitive edge," said Schmidt.

The committee will discuss the bills, Thursday, at 9 a.m.

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