Democrats who’ll control the Iowa legislature’s 2007 debate agenda say it’s too soon to rule out a gas tax increase. Road construction groups are lobbying for the hike since experts say state gas tax collections will fail to cover the costs of road work.
House Speaker-elect Pat Murphy says Democrats are not eager to raise taxes, but he says that shortfall is a concern. “You know, it can affect the economy of the state if you end up with a major road project that gets delayed,” Murphy says. “One of the things we’re going to have to weigh is how (a gas tax increase would) affect the average Iowan and their ability to afford to get to work, to take their kids to school, to be able to afford a vacation.”
Murphy says Democrats, alone, won’t vote for the tax increase — he will only consider bringing it up for a vote if Republicans cast “yes” votes, too. House Republican Leader Christopher Rants of Sioux City says he’s not sure any Republican would vote for a gas tax hike.
Rants says G-O-P candidates didn’t talk about raising the gas tax and Republicans may decided to be the “loyal opposition” and join together to oppose a gas tax hike. The state tax on ethanol-blended gasoline is 19 cents a gallon. It’s a penny higher for gas that does not contain ethanol.
The state tax on diesel fuel is 22-and-a-half cents per gallon. Motorists pay just over 18 cents a gallon in federal gas taxes.