Local News

State Lawmakers Hope To Provide Break At Gas Pump

Posted June 15, 2004

— North Carolina lawmakers want to get a handle on the state's high gas tax.

With the possibility of a big increase in January, they are working on legislation to cap the tax rate. A House committee discussed the impact of doing so on Tuesday.

North Carolina drivers currently pay the 10th highest gasoline excise tax in the nation at more than 24¾ cents a gallon.

A bill introduced by Rep. Michael Decker would cap a portion of the gas tax, reducing the cost of gas at the pump.

"The influence is terrorists and OPEC oil cartel manipulation," said Decker, R-Forsyth County. "We don't need to have our taxpayers held hostage, so to speak, by these foreign influences. And that's why I'd like to cap it."

A lot of the money in the gas tax goes into a fund used to repairs and maintain roads in the North Carolina. Opponents of the bill say if there is less money in that fund, saving now could cost more later.

"If, as I suspect, the cost of asphalt is tied to the cost of petroleum, then if we don't fix the pothole and you throw the front end of your car out of line and wear your tires out and have to spend $150 to get that fixed, have I saved you any money?" Rep. Curtis Blackwood, R-Union County said.

The finance committee did not vote on the issue, which has lawmakers divided.

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