Most on the roads task force concur – Indiana needs to raise its fuel taxes for the first time since 2003. And many believe part of that plan should include regular, automatic increases, based on something like inflation or the consumer price index.
But Indiana Petroleum Council executive director Maureen Ferguson says automatic tax hikes, while politically easier, fly in the face of transparency.
“Your constituents’ lives and pocketbooks are who you’re affecting, so to raise taxes is very difficult,” Ferguson says. “We would argue to make it easy is the opposite of what we should be doing.”
Ferguson adds any increase should be voted on each year by the legislature.
Roads task force co-chair Sen. Luke Kenley (R-Noblesville) says he hadn’t thought about that issue before.
“I’m going to have to think through whether or not that’s a real problem or not. I felt like the indexing was something that was just going to flow automatically,” Kenley says.
Ferguson says, if the legislature decides to index fuel taxes, the increases should be tied solely to fluctuating gas prices.