Per yesterday’s Wilmington Star-News, it appears a cap on North Caroilna’s gas tax will be on the table in the upcoming short legislative session:
In the General Assembly session that begins Wednesday, the state’s gasoline tax could be a divisive issue.
Top Republican lawmakers and the governor – at least for now – agree the tax should be capped at 37.5 cents per gallon for the coming fiscal year.
But some area legislators think the cap is an unwise move unless another way is found to pay for road and bridge projects.
The state gas tax is currently 38.9 cents per gallon, the highest rate ever in North Carolina. It increased from 35 cents a gallon on Jan. 1. The tax is recalculated automatically twice annually – Jan. 1 and July 1 – based on a formula linked to wholesale gas prices.
For several years, North Carolina capped the state gas tax at 29.9 cents per gallon. But in 2009, they decided to scrap the cap and instead turn it into a floor – ensuring that what was previously the highest the gas tax could reach would be the lowest it could possibly fall. North Carolina’s combined state and local gas taxes are 8th highest in the nation – roughly 58 cents of every gallon of gas you purchase in NC goes to taxes (local, state and federal).
Senate leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) intends to change that.
“There’s no question that North Carolina’s gas tax is too high,” Berger said. “We do intend to cut the gas tax during the short session as we promised last year.
Other lawmakers, however, can’t seem to part company with other people’s money.
But state Sen. Bill Rabon, R-Brunswick, chairman of the Senate Transportation Appropriations Committee, opposes a cap on the tax without another revenue source in place to make up for lost money for road and bridge maintenance.
Rabon said he didn’t believe motorists would notice the slight decrease in the gas tax expected July 1.
How about we let consumers decide what tax cuts we will “notice,” rather than you making that decision for us, Senator?
Just like the state’s General Fund budget, North Carolina’s transportation budget doesn’t suffer from a lack of funds. Rather, it is plagued by botched jobs, roads to nowhere, an out-dated “equity formula” which distributes transportation dollars based on region and not need, bureaucratic waste, and of course – good old corruption.