As many holiday travelers will find out, filling up your tank in NC just got more expensive today. Thanks to a 2009 law that not only eliminated the cap on the variable portion of the gas tax, it also changed the cap to a floor, the state gas tax rises today by another 2.5 cents to a record high 35 cents per gallon. North Carolina already had the second-highest gas tax in the SE and 13th highest in the nation.
But if you have any money left after filling up your tank for that trip to the beach, you can save a little money on that bottle of sunscreen. The sales tax drops a penny today as well.
According to reports, the Republican majority, which stood so steadfast against the sales tax increase, couldn’t come to an agreement to once again limit the gas tax because “legislative leaders couldn’t agree on how to make up lost revenues that the gas tax generates for road building, maintenance and other highway projects before ending this year’s main legislative work session.”
But there are ample opportunities to more efficiently allocate transportation funds, including scrapping the outdated equity formula, reducing or eliminating non-road expenditures and rooting out bureaucratic corruption and waste. Given that 80% of NC likely voters would like to at least see the gas tax cap reinstated, lawmakers need to figure out a way to reduce out pain at the pump.