Gas Tax Hike Showdown Headed to Nebraska
Wasting no time after the Nebraska legislature passed a six cents per-gallon gas tax increase by a 26-15 vote on Thursday (May 7), Gov. Pete Ricketts vetoed it the same day, reports AASHTO Journal.
Nebraska's Legislature is unique among states in that in addition to being nonpartisan, it is the only unicameral (single-chamber) body in the United States, according to Wikipedia, so the override vote only need to come from one legislative body.
Unlike in Iowa, where Gov. Terry Branstad provided instrumental leadership to pass the 10 cent gas tax increase that went into effect March 1, Sen. Smith appears to play the pivotal leadership role judging by his March 18 newsletter.
I am grateful Senator Curt Friesen of Henderson has prioritized LB 610, which is a bill I introduced that would provide much-needed funding to our transportation infrastructure. The bill would increase the portion of our gas tax that goes to fund our state, city, and county roads and bridges. While I consider myself a fiscal conservative, I have firsthand knowledge (as Chair of the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee) of our immense infrastructure needs and the huge funding gap that exists.
- South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley may veto a 10 cent gas hike the House passed last month because she wants it tied to a larger income tax cut.
- Then-Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick vetoed the three cents gas tax increase in 2013 because it was too small. However, the legislature overrode his veto
- In Minnesota, then-Gov. Tom Pawlenty vetoed gas tax increases not once or twice, but three times in 2005, 2007 and 2008. Ultimately, it took the collapse of the I-35W bridge over the Mississippi River on August 1, 2007 resulting in 13 deaths and 145 injuries for the legislature to gather the requisite votes to override his veto and raise the gas tax by 5.5 cents.
Of course, it should not take a transportation calamity to inspire governors and state legislatures to increase gas taxes to pay for essential road and bridge maintenance and repair.
Hat tip: AASHTO Journal newsletter.