The top Republican in the legislature is suggesting lawmakers will not vote to raise the state gas tax this year. Some legislators have endorsed bills that would raise the tax on January 1st of next year, but House Speaker Kraig Paulsen suggests that’s as far as the proposal will go.
“It’s losing energy,” Paulsen says. “I don’t think it has the requisite support in the legislature and Iowans sure don’t support it right now.” Paulsen, a Republican, is from Hiawatha where a gallon of ethanol-blended gasoline was selling for as much as $3.83 last night at a Kwik Shop.
Paulsen says rising pump prices are a factor in public attitudes toward a state gas tax increase. “But I really think what it boils down to is a level of trust with government and, you know, they want to see their elected officials, us…going through the budget and making sure every dollar is spent as effectively and efficiently as possible,” Paulsen says.
“I don’t think they’re convinced of that right now.” Last month three Republicans and eight Democrats on the Senate Transportation Committee voted to raise the gas tax by a dime a gallon. A slightly different proposal to raise the state tax on motor fuel by eight cents by the spring of 2014 had cleared a subcommittee in the House, but has not advanced beyond that.
It called for a series of increases in registration fees for vehicles, like a new $100 annual fee on vehicles that run entirely on electricity, propane or natural gas rather than gasoline or diesel.