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More gas tax changes in House budget

Posted May 14, 2015

Pumping gas, gas pump

— Lawmakers continue to tinker with the state gas tax in the House budget, proposing to drop it to 33 cents per gallon next January.

Appropriations subcommittees began reviewing Thursday morning various sections of the House's proposed spending plan for the next two years, and the full House is expected to vote on the budget next week.

In March, the House and the Senate agreed to put a floor under the tax, dropping it from 37.5 to 36 cents per gallon as of April 1 and eventually lowering it to 34 cents per gallon by late 2016. The effort was designed to head off a scheduled July 1 decrease to about 30 cents a gallon.

Lawmakers have said the gas tax revenue has become too unreliable for long-range highway construction and maintenance projects – vehicles are becoming more fuel-efficient, and people adjust their driving patterns in response to rising and falling gas prices – so they want to find other sources of revenue for road projects.

A bill pending in the House would drop the gas tax to 30 cents per gallon while raising fees charged by the state Division of Motor Vehicles by 50 percent and would adjust other taxes and fees as well to generate more highway revenue.

The higher DMV fees also are included in the budget proposal, but Rep. Grier Martin, D-Wake, said the move to raise fees and lower the gas tax results in a loss of $12.4 million in funding to the Strategic Transportation Investments program the Department of Transportation put in place two years ago to better match funded road projects with the state's needs.

"In making that shift, we've short-changed STI," Martin said.

Rep. Paul Tine, U-Dare, noted that gas tax revenue has been declining for years, and making the budget more reliant on fees and other sources of revenue would eventually produce more STI funding.

"The STI is a 10-year plan, and this is a two-year budget," added Rep. Frank Iler, R-Brunswick.

15 Comments

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  • Terry Watts May 15, 2015
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    The funny part about your statement is that the GA that actually writes the budget was led by the GOP...

  • Matt Wood May 15, 2015
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    Your math is off. It's 57.15 cents per GALLON, not per dollar. NC currently has an average gas price of $2.469, meaning the gas companies are making $1.8975 gross per every gallon sold.

  • Mary Zulch May 14, 2015
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    Maynard Road is a mess. So are sections of a lot of roads in Cary. And for Mr. Tanker:
    It will not help Cary or any other city or township. It will only help a state that wants to call extra taxes a fee. They are fools who think we are all pretty dumb. We know that 50% is in lieu of taxes. Therefore it is a tax...period. Our Legislators really need to understand most of the public is more analytical and intelligent than they are. I guess these folks that were elected think they they are brilliant. I believe we all know better now.

  • Daniel Corell May 14, 2015
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    The government makes more off a dollar of gasoline then oil companies do.

  • Jim Frei May 14, 2015
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    Raise the gas tax to $0.50 gallon - I want to see passenger trains to Morehead City and Wilmington, concrete freeways, and expressways with 100 mph speed limits.

  • Jim Frei May 14, 2015
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    Maynard and Evans Rds are city-maintained, not NCDOT. Blame your Cary councilmen for the conditions of those roads.

  • Jacob Smith May 14, 2015
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    It's not about Dems or Repubs - they are all the same when it comes to raiding the working mans pocket.

    At a total of 57.15 cents a gallon, NC has the TENTH HIGHEST gasoline tax in America - yet our roads continue to get worse.

    Where I live in Cary - neither Evans Road or Maynard Drive have been resurfaced in the 15 YEARS I have lived here. They just keep putting shoddy little asphalt patches in the potholes. Maynard Road between Harrison and Kildair Farm is like a MOONSCAPE.

  • Michael Hart May 14, 2015
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    Abrams.... using that GOP math again Huh?
    784 Million with a "M" not Billion with a "B"
    http://www.blueridgenow.com/article/20090617/NEWS/906179959?p=2&tc=pg

  • Dan Kimrey May 14, 2015
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    You can call it a tax. Or you can call it a fee. When you add it all up it's still money out of my pocket. It's still an extra burden on the working class.

  • Abrams Tanker May 14, 2015
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    2009 NC House (Dem controlled) passed a $784 B tax increase. That's a lot more than the GOP wants for transportation improvements.

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