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Idaho Surprise: Gas Tax Hike Signed Into Law

The legislature passed the seven-cent increase on April 11, the final day of the legislative session. Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter signed the bill on April 21, also increasing registration fees by $21. On April 1, the bill had been considered dead.
April 24, 2015, 7am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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"It was a last-minute compromise before this year’s legislative session ended in the early morning hours on Saturday," writes Jessica Robinson of Northwest Public Radio. "The measure promises to raise around $95 million a year for Idaho roads and bridges. But many lawmakers left unsatisfied."

Republican Sen. Marv Hagedorn said 7 cents per gallon would only scratch the surface of what Idaho needs to maintain its highways. He urged lawmakers to craft a more ambitious plan.

On April 1, Betsy Z. Russell of The Spokesman-Review wrote, "It appears that the majority of the Idaho Senate is not inclined to … support the legislation,” Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis, R-Idaho Falls, announced. "It will not be reconsidered this session."

Governor Otter explains in his April 21 transmittal letter [PDF], the legislation HB 312a [PDFwas the result of a House-Senate conference committee.

Add another state to the growing, albeit slowly, list of Republican state government trifectas that have increased gas taxes this year.

The signed legislation will increase the current 25-cent motor fuel (gas, diesel, taxes, most unchanged since 1996, to two cents above the national average of 30-cents per gallon [PDF].

Russell clarifies that both the fuel taxes and registration increases take effect on July 1.

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Published on Thursday, April 23, 2015 in Northwest Public Radio
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