McCrory signs gas tax changes

Posted March 31, 2015

— Gov. Pat McCrory on Tuesday signed legislation that will cut the state gas tax in the short term but raise it in the long run.

Senate Bill 20 would lower the state gas tax from 37.5 cents per gallon to 36 cents per gallon on Wednesday. But it would cancel out a much larger cut to the gas tax scheduled to take effect in July.

Rep. David Lewis, R-Harnett, said the current formula by which the gas tax is calculated, passed 25 years ago, is outdated and too inherently unstable to allow the state to plan for road and bridge construction and maintenance.

If the gas tax were allowed to drop to 30 cents in July, as it's scheduled to do, it would mean $400 million less in transportation funding. Much of that money goes to cities and counties for their transportation needs.

"This will benefit each and every constituent that we serve because that’s what paves the roads in our districts, our towns, our communities," Lewis said.

While conceding that the tax would likely be higher this summer with the bill than without it, he argued the state can't afford not to make the change.

"What’s at risk? Four hundred million dollars to our communities for safe roads and bridges if we don’t change this formula," Lewis said. "We need to provide the stability that this bill provides to make sure that we can meet our obligations."

Rep. Paul Luebke, D-Durham, took issue with the GOP characterization of the measure as a tax cut.

"Consumers of this state need to know that, on July 1, in rounded terms, they’ll be paying 6 cents more for a gallon of gas," Luebke said. "I think it’s important for people to know that."

Rep. Jeff Collins, R-Nash, rose to challenge Luebke, asking, "You’ve become a champion of tax reform and of lowering taxes?"

"Rep. Collins, I’m telling it like it is. You can interpret it as you wish," Luebke replied. "When people do something for what they believe is a good cause, they ought to call it what it is."

Democrats, including Minority Leader Larry Hall, criticized Republicans for raising the gas tax while delaying a more comprehensive fix for transportation funding, even while planning to take next week off.

"It was more convenient to go ahead and raise this tax on these working North Carolinians," said Hall, D-Durham.

Some Republicans were also critical of the bill's temporary nature.

"This is just one big old Band-Aid," said Rep. Gary Pendleton, R-Wake."It needs to be fixed."

Republicans countered by pointing out how much the scheduled cut would cost local governments, potentially leading to higher local property taxes.

"You know those potholes you like to fix? Gone," said Rep. Charles Jeter, R-Mecklenburg. "There are things about every bill that we can always find that we don’t like."

Despite nearly an hour of debate, much of which centered on other tax changes in the bill, the final House vote was 79-39, a larger margin of support than the bill received in Monday night's second-reading vote.

The Senate also gave the bill final approval Tuesday afternoon by a vote of 41-8.


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  • Jim Buchanan Apr 1, 2015
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    View quoted thread

    I hope you are not calling me a Liberal, but if you are, who cares!
    My complaint is our government is no longer here for the people. Corporations have too much influence in our political system. Lobbyist need to be banned! And our politicians should have to live by the laws they create...PERIOD!

  • Christine Duvall Apr 1, 2015
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    So where is the official letter? That should've been scanned and posted to the NCDOR website immediately. Those of us in the gas industry can';t make these changes overnight. Which means prices are not changing at the gas station overnight either. Even if we credit and re-bill our customers, the station will have paid the higher price and the consumer will have bought and paid at the higher price. Retailers (actual stations)sttnd to make a lot of money off the consumer until the suppliers start charging the distributors correctly.

  • Paul Donovan Apr 1, 2015
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    If they had cut taxes, all the liberals on here would be complaining. If they raise taxes, all the liberals complain. Face it, it doesn't matter what this GOP led GA does, the liberals are going to complain. Kind of like crying wolf all the time, after a while nobody pays attention to you anymore.

  • Jim Buchanan Apr 1, 2015
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    Politicians, democrats and republicans alike, are all there just to make money. We no longer have politicians looking out for what's best for us, the people! Spend, spend, spend is all they know.
    Roads are being updated, schools are being stepped on, they are spending money to help themselves and friends better their financial statue. When are WE, THE PEOPLE, going to matter again!?

  • Bob Cooke Apr 1, 2015
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    They could set the gas tax to zero and pave the roads with gold, but the complaints would still come cause they aren't the right team.

  • Jay Tanenbaum Mar 31, 2015
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    Hey Republicans, since when do you like tax increases. That what this is after July. Thanks!

  • Wayne Roberson Mar 31, 2015
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    I heard some time ago the state had a ceiling on how much tax they take in on gas,
    if it goes over it rolls into their general purpose fund. If this is true, why don't they just take the cap off and leave the tax alone. Also, what is going to happen should all of us driving, cut more driving out. Won't they loose money in the long run??

  • Steven Reynolds Mar 31, 2015
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    If the legislature had not decided to cut taxes, especially for their rich donors, we would not be in this mess. You cannot keep cutting revenue sources and expect to maintain a high level. So naturally expenditures were cut. Unfortunately, the legislature has decided to rape and pillage the education system, UNC and Public Schools instead of the areas that really need to be cut.

  • Billy Gray Mar 31, 2015
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    View quoted thread

    Needs to? Why? Setting aside the fact that there is no expiry on the gas tax. Besides, what are you filling that $400M gap in the budget with? Or do you not mind driving on dirt roads?

  • Matt Price Mar 31, 2015
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    Gov needs to veto, and allow the gas tax to expire.