|Portion of gas tax increase would go to counties, cities|
|Written by Wauneta Breeze|
|Thursday, 02 April 2015 02:31|
By Senator Dan Hughes
Nebraska State Senator - 44th District
Last week we started all day debate. One of the bills that we will be debating soon is LB 610. This bill would increase the motor fuels tax rate by 1.5 cents every year, for four years.
One of the two components of the fixed rate is the portion allocated to the Nebraska Department of Roads and would increase 1/2 cent every year, from 7.5 cents to 9.5 cents.
The other component is the proportion allocated to cities and counties and would increase one cent every year from 2.8 cents to 6.8 cents.
This bill would offer some relief to property taxpayers and would take some of the burden off counties.
According to American Petroleum Institute, in the United States the average combined gasoline tax is 48.29 cents per gallon as of Jan. 1. That includes federal (18.40 cents per gallon), state and local taxes.
Nebraska’s current total combined gas tax is 44.00 cents per gallon. Colorado is 40.40 cents per gallon. They haven’t raised their gas tax since 1990.
In 2010, the Colorado Department of Transportation reported that 52 percent of their roads are in poor shape. Kansas is 42.43 cents per gallon, but they also have toll roads.
Iowa just raised their fuel tax to 49.40 cents. They increased their tax by 10 cents per gallon. On April 1, South Dakota fuel tax will be 46.40, an increase of 6 cents a gallon.
Six-year legislative term?
Another bill generating interest is LR7CA. It would amend article III section 7 of the state’s constitution.
Beginning with the general election in November 2020 and then in November 2022 and every six years thereafter, voters would elect members of the Legislature to six year terms instead of four year terms.
Article III section 12 of the constitution would be amended to change the term limit provision so that a member of the Legislature could serve two consecutive six-year terms, instead of two consecutive four-year terms.
This would not apply to anyone currently serving in the Legislature. There was no one who testified in opposition or neutral on the bill. It advanced out of committee on a 9-0 vote.
The Executive Board offered an amendment that would allow for three consecutive four-year terms. This would also not benefit anyone who is currently serving in the legislature.
he best example I can give of this in the business world would be if you owned a company and every eight years you had to fire all of your department heads and start over with new personnel. You lose vast amounts of internal knowledge about your business and your customer base doing this.
The Legislature advanced the resolution to Select File Monday as amended with the three four-year terms.
I would like to hear your thoughts on either or both of these bills. Would you support extending terms? If so, would you support two-six year terms or three-four year terms? What do you think about raising the gas tax as a way to provide a little property tax relief and improve the roads in Nebraska?
I look forward to hearing from you. Please feel free to contact my office with any questions or concerns that you might have.
For more about the bills or to watch live streaming video of the Legislature’s floor debate, visit nebraskalegislature.gov.