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Texas Voters Will Again Be Asked to Divert Funds for Transportation

Refusing to raise the 20-cent gas tax, creative Texas legislators have devised another scheme to divert existing revenue streams to roads. Last year it was a portion of the Rainy Day Fund. This year, from general sales and motor vehicle sales taxes.
September 17, 2015, 11am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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In this KCBD newscast from Lubbock, Texas, managing editor Abner Euresti interviews "Texas House Representative Joe Pickett (D-El Paso), who also serves as the state's chairman of transportation, says taking a portion of the state’s general sales tax would help generate more money for transportation."

He says if passed, this would be the largest amount of money going into transportation in the history of TXDoT"If Proposition 7 is successful, it means an influx of new money of about $3 billion a year," he says.

According to Move Texas Forward, the group behind last year's wildly successful Prop. 1 (which passed with 80% of the vote and diverted half of the revenue from energy taxes, normally deposited into the state's Rainy Day Fund, to the State Highway Fund), funds for Prop. 7 will come from two sources:

  • $2.5 billion would be deposited into the state highway fund from state sales tax revenues above the first $28 billion dollars that year.
  • 35% of the net revenue derived from the motor vehicle sales and rental tax above the first $5 billion dollars each year would be deposited into the state highway fund. [According to Ballotpedia, there are three sources, "motor vehicle sales, use, and rental tax."]

"Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers voted for this proposition with 180 out of 181 Texas legislators supporting it," writes Gloria DeLeon of KCBD.

Ballotpedia lists dozens of organizations in support of the measure, and only two opposing it:

The state's 20-cent gas tax, ninth lowest in the nation as of April 1 according to the American Petroleum Institute (PDF), hasn't been raised since 1991.

Hat tip to AASHTO Daily Transportation Update.

Full Story:
Published on Wednesday, September 16, 2015 in KCBD
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