Local News

Lawmakers Hope To Prevent Possible Gas Tax Increase

Posted April 27, 2006

— Pull up to the pump in North Carolina, and there is plenty of frustration.

"It's outrageous," said motorist Jernellda Wright. "When I first bought this truck, it used to take me $30 to fill it up. Now, I'm at $30 and I'm not even halfway through (filling the tank.)"

Now, add this to the equation -- the chance that the state's gas tax could rise again in July, after already going up 3 cents in January.

"The state needs to stop gouging consumers," said Rep. Nelson Dollar. "We need to look at ways that we can give our citizens a break."

Dollar and other lawmakers want to respond to angry consumers by rolling back the gas tax a few cents and then capping the rate.

"So that you don't have these dramatic rises in the tax that people are paying on a gallon of gas when the price goes up," said Dollar.

"This has become a political debate some folks are using to try and incite the public's reaction," said Barry Jenkins with the transportation advocacy group NC Go! "I think it's being totally misrepresented."

Jenkins doubts the gas tax will even rise in July. Plus, he disputes that pulling the rate back is likely to affect the price at the pump, saying that it would, however, siphon money from needed road projects.

"The traveling public is going to suffer," said Jenkins. "We're in a funding crisis right now in North Carolina."

Whether it is taxes or taking on big oil company profits, consumers just want relief.

"I don't know," said motorist Gary Murray. "I guess I'll start riding my scooter."

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