January 20, 2016

House GOP Road Plan Clears First Hurdle

The House GOP road funding proposal passed out of committee Wednesday. - file photo

The House GOP road funding proposal passed out of committee Wednesday.

file photo

INDIANAPOLIS – A House road funding proposal that would increase both gas and cigarette taxes cleared its first legislative hurdle Wednesday.  But, the GOP proposal was not embraced by all House Roads Committee Republicans.

The House GOP road plan raises the state’s gas tax by four cents, to account for inflation.  That tax was last raised more than 10 years ago.  It also dedicates all money from the sales tax on gasoline to road funding.  Roads Committee Chairman Ed Soliday, the bill’s author, says the tax increases are modest.

“There is a significant need and what we’re asking is enough money in this bill, through multiple sources, to stop the decline of Indiana roads,” Soliday said.

But some of the gasoline sales tax currently goes to the General Fund.  So, account for this, the bill would also raise the cigarette tax by $1.  Goshen Republican Rep. Curt Nisly says while he appreciates the need for more road funding, he thinks the plan isn’t the right course.

“The tax increases – more than doubling the tax on cigarettes – and for that reason I’m going to be a no vote today.”

The committee’s four Democrats also opposed the bill, but with eight yes votes, the measure advanced.  It now heads to the Ways and Means committee

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