gas tax

Gas Tax Stabilization Gets 11th Hour Passage

Mar 25, 2015

The Kentucky legislature has acted to stem the drop in gas tax revenues that are used to repair and build roads across the Commonwealth. Passage of a measure to stabilize the state's road fund was a priority of Governor Beshear's.

Officially, it came very early Wednesday morning when House members put their stamp of approval on the gas tax agreement. Owensboro Representative Tommy Thompson voted yes. "We need our roads for convenience, we need them to be safe, but we need them for commerce," said Thompson.

The gas tax measure sets a $0.26 floor for the levy and limits any drop to no more than ten percent. The legislation also provides for an annual adjustment of the fuel tax, instead of quarterly. Elizabethtown Representative Tim Moore believes the road fund issue deserved more time to digest before voting. "But I would ask every member here in explaining my no, did you read this? Did you have time to read this?” Asked Moore.

Erlanger Representative Adam Koenig says the gas tax funding method is 'outdated' and 'outmoded.' "It's my opinion that we need to fund our roads not based upon how much gas you buy, but how many miles you drive,” said Koenig. “But, that's just one of many ideas that are out there."

House Speaker Greg Stumbo supports the move. "Particularly with the weather that we've had to forego this last winter and the terrible status of the roads, every county judge that I know of and magistrate across the state says we need more money to fix these roads," said Stumbo.
The gas tax measure won final passage before the House by a 67 to 29 vote.

Kentucky LRC

The chair of the state Senate Transportation Committee is still confident that something will be done to adjust Kentucky’s gas tax before the legislative session ends.

But the committee chair, Sen. Ernie Harris, said it’s still unclear what a final bill would look like or where it would come from.

“We’ve been talking about it in leadership and in our caucus. We don’t have a resolution yet, we’re not sure the exact direction that we’re going, but I’m confident that we will address it at some time,” said Harris, a Prospect Republican.

Senate Republicans are discussing not allowing the fuel tax to swing by 5 or 10 percent over the course of a year, Harris said. Currently, the gas tax is based on the average wholesale price of gasoline.

The state’s road fund, which funds maintenance and construction on state highway and bridge projects, has been dwindling because low gas prices have led to fewer tax receipts.

Harris had written a bill that would have set a “floor” to the gas tax—meaning the tax rate would stop adjusting once gas prices fell below a certain amount. That legislation was once a likely contender, but Harris said the legislature will not take it up. He said a final bill will depend on leadership of both chambers working together to decide what bill to advance.

Lawmakers have until 11:59 Wednesday evening to pass bills before the governor’s week-and-a-half long veto session—currently there is no fuel tax bill that has passed both the House and Senate. Lawmakers also have an optional two days to pass bills after the veto session.

If nothing is done to adjust the gas tax, local governments stand to lose up to 40 percent of revenue for routine maintenance of roads, Harris said.

“And that’s not just new asphalt—that is potholes, and after the snows that we’ve had you see the potholes cropping up on fairly new-laid asphalt,” Harris said.

Tennessee's Gas Tax Time May Have Come

Dec 23, 2014

Momentum is mounting for a possible proposal to raise the state's gas tax for the first time in 25 years.

Gov. Bill Haslam told says that he thinks a legislative proposal on the issue is close, and could be introduced in the next General Assembly, which convenes in January.

The push comes as a group representing 40 mayors in Middle Tennessee sent a letter urging Haslam and state lawmakers to find new sources of revenue to pay for transportation needs. Chambers of commerce also are pushing the idea of increasing the gas tax.

In addition, the Tennessee Farm Bureau no longer lists opposition to a gas tax increase as among its legislative priorities.

Still, the newspaper reports any proposal to increase the tax would face hurdles.

Doctors at two Kentucky research hospitals can prescribe medicine derived from marijuana oil to treat child seizures under a bill that cleared the General Assembly on Monday.

The bill would allow Kentuckians to use cannabidiol in two cases: a prescription from a doctor at the University of Kentucky or the University of Louisville research hospitals, or a trial from the U. S. Food and Drug Administration.

The Senate gave the bill final approval Monday and it will become law unless Democratic Governor Steve Beshear vetoes it. The bill comes as states across the country are allowing the limited use of marijuana and its products for medical purposes.

In other news from Frankfort, Kentucky drivers will not pay more in states taxes at the gas pump this summer.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo said he's told legislative leaders to prepare the state's two year road spending plan without the extra $107 million that would come from a 1.5 cents-per-gallon increase in the state gas tax.

Gas prices are getting ready to go up again in Kentucky. On July 1, the state's gas tax will increase 2.1 cents per gallon. That means motorists will be paying nearly 30 cents in Kentucky taxes for each gallon they purchase. The increase is automatic because the state's tax is tied to the average cost of wholesale gas, which has been rising.