Thoughts from the Hill:
At my recent forums there has been quite a bit of discussion and concern about the fuel tax. The discussion runs all the way from no increase to a 10-cent increase. Those that don't want any increase are concerned about people that drive to work and the extra expense they will have due to an increase in the fuel tax. On the other end there seems to be a considerable concern about conditions of our roads and bridges. A 10-cent fuel tax will raise about $215 million a year.
A 5-cent fuel tax increase would raise about $107.5 million, which would be a start to fixing our roads and bridges and would cost the average driver less than $50 a year. Right now I would vote for a 5-cent increase and I will listen to an increase greater than 5 cents. A 10-cent increase would be a 50 percent increase in the current fuel tax; this strikes me as being too much. Any more suggestions please let me know.
A bill passed out of sub-committee that would give school districts with higher transportation costs an opportunity to tax for that higher transportation cost. Currently the average state cost per child for transportation is $306. If your cost would be greater than that you could tax for the difference between the state average and your cost. This would have to be done through the people and could be added as a property tax, an income tax surcharge, or a combination of the two. From the figures that I have, this idea would help all but one school in the 7th district. One school is considerably below the state average and one is slightly above. All others would get a benefit from this bill. The tax could be used for repairing, maintaining or fueling transportation equipment. The levy would have to be redone every 10 years. At this time (Wednesday afternoon) I do not know the fate of this bill due to inclement weather that we are anticipating. It was decided to cram all the bills we were considering into our Wednesday session. Our first funnel is the 21st of February, any bill not out of committee will not be considered this year.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve the constituents of the 7th district. I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Statehouse at (515) 281-3221.