Indiana Lawmakers: Gas Tax Increase Might Get Reduced In Senate
Heaton was among Republicans who signed the Americans for Tax Reform pledge.
Baird (R-Greencastle) also signed the pledge and also voted for the higher gas tax. Baird could not be reached for comment Feb. 20.
Heaton acknowledged he voted contrary to the earlier pledge, “but on the other hand, a lot of people at town halls, such as in Cory, are okay with it, generally speaking, because it goes toward maintenance of roads at all levels,” Heaton said.
“Indiana Farm Bureau supported it as they know something needs to be done with roads,” Heaton said. “We will see how this plays out in the Senate, if they take it apart. It could possibly change, it could be lowered, but I don’t know for sure,” he said.
Rep. Morrison, (R-Terre Haute) declined comment.
All House Democrats voted against the bill, including Rep. Kersey, (D-Terre Haute).
“I voted against it as there is a better road-funding mechanism,” Kersey said. “We do need to do something, and we need $1 billion a year for the next 10 years to address” road and bridge repairs and upkeep, he said.
Kersey said Democrats seek to freeze a state corporate income tax break, which still has five years to completely phase in.
“If we freeze that tax break now, it would be $200 million,” a year, he said. Then, an another $300 million can be found annually through the governor requesting all departments return 5 % of budgets, Kersey said.
Additionally, Kersey supports placing state sales tax into a dedicated road fund. “Right now, about 4.7% goes into the state budget. Our plan puts all of that into road funding, which is another $300 million,” Kersey said.
Kersey said he thinks the gas-tax bill will not remain as passed in the Indiana House.
“There will be a lot of compromising. As proposed, it would be the highest tax increase in Indiana history. House Bill 1002 will not look anything like it does today by the time we get to April,” Kersey said. “I think it will look at lot different, possibly down to a 5 cent tax increase.”
Whatever the outcome, Jacob Bean, who lives in Montezuma but works in Terre Haute and attends Ivy Tech Community College, said he still has to commute about 30 miles every day. “The gas tax won’t impact how much I drive because I have to drive as much as I do every day. It’ll just cost me more,” he said.
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|By Howard Greninger|
The (Terre Haute, Ind.) Tribune-Star
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