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Time To Raise the State Gas Tax?

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 20 Feb 2013 06:15pm | comments
Photo: Flickr, Dave Barger

Two Mississippi lawmakers are calling for an increase to the state's gas tax to help improve roads, bridges and ports. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports the current gas tax has not changed in more than 20-years.

For every gallon of gas that goes in a car, truck or van in Mississippi 18-cents goes to the state to help pay for the roads that those vehicles use.

That is 18-cent tax has been in place and unchanged since 1987, and the chairmen of the House and Senate transportation committees believe it could be time to change that.

Representative Robert Johnson of Natchez says getting more revenue from the gas tax could be used to improve infrastructure and draw new business to Mississippi.

"And some people believe that if you have economic development and you  have businesses, that they will help build your infrastructure. I, for one, sort of lean the other way. I lean to the way of thinking that says if you build the infrastructure, businesses and economic development will come," Johnson said.

Johnson has submitted a bill to replace the current tax with a 6-percent tax on each gallon.

Senator Willie Simmons of Cleveland also thinks its time consider increasing the tax, especially as cars are becoming more fuel efficient.

"Which means that we are tearing the highways up more because we are using them more but we are actually putting less into the system to build and maintain roads because we are going to the pump less," Simmons said.

But the proposal is often unpopular.
The Lt. Governor says he has no interest in raising the tax this year.

Mississippi does one of the lowest gas taxes in the country and it is 11-cents lower than the national average.


Photo: Flickr, Dave Barger



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