Gas Tax Legislation Facing Uphill Battles In VT, NH, NV

Now that Maryland has joined Wyoming in increasing its gas tax, who's next? Gas tax legislation in New Hampshire and Vermont have advanced to their Senates where going is rough, and a new, "two-cent a year for a decade" bill is proposed for Nevada.

Maryland was the latest addition after the state Senate passed the bill on March 29 that indexes the existing 23.5-cent tax, last raised over two decades ago, to the Consumer Price Index and adds a phased, 3% sales tax on the wholesale price of fuel, similar to what was done in neighboring Virginia, write John Wagner and Aaron C. Davis. (However, Virginia eliminated its 17.5-cent excise tax).

In Vermont, the gas tax package, which has gather much public opposition, has cleared the House and is being debated in the Senate, writes Peter Hirschfeld of the Barre Montpelier Times Argus. While the excise tax is 19-cents, "in 2009 the legislature added a two percent sales tax that has now grown from 3.5 to 6.7 cents a gallon,” according to Jim Harrison of the Vermont Grocers Association who is leading a petition effort to kill the tax increase.

The revenue package approved by the House would increase gas taxes by a projected 6.7 cents in 2013 and 7.8 cents next year

Much debate in the Senate is centered on shifting some of the increase to diesel, which has aroused the trucking industry.

New Hampshire faces a high hurdle in increasing their gas tax. Ben Leubsdorf of the Concord-Montor writes that the House passed the 12-cent gas tax increase, phased in over three years. The current 18-cent gas tax was last increased in 1991. However, according to "Sen. Chuck Morse, a Salem Republican and chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, ...it 'will be dead on arrival' in the upper chamber."

In Nevada, the AP reports that a bill has been introduced to increase gas taxes by 2-cents annually over the next decade.  The funding measure follows the release of a report (PDF) by the non-profit, transportation industry group TRIP that highlights the shortfall of transportation revenue in the state.

Full Story: Washington Post: Maryland Senate approves gas tax increase; gun-control bill survives House panel’s fight

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