INDIANAPOLIS -- Senate lawmakers got their first look Thursday at the House Republican road funding plan.
The plan includes increases in the gas and cigarette taxes. Its authors argue they are modest, necessary moves that help create a long term funding solution. But several members of the Senate Appropriations Committee seemed skeptical about proposal’s tax increases.
Republican Rep. Ed Soliday, the bill’s author, responded to questions from Senate committee members about the burden those hikes would have on the people paying them. He argued that increasing those specific taxes aligns with a philosophy that supports a user fee system.
“You make a choice to drive, you make a choice to smoke and there is a cost associated with that," Soliday said. "And so I find this is somewhere between a progressive and regressive tax.”
Soliday also pointed out the bill includes a tax reduction – decreasing the state’s personal income tax. Senate Republican Leader David Long said that issue doesn’t belong in the bill.
“We want to make sure we can also meet our future needs, especially for education, so I want to take a long, hard look at that,” Long said.
The Senate Appropriations Committee Thursday did not hear amendments or take a vote on the bill. Those actions will come in the next couple of weeks.