It is an understatement that Increasing fuel taxes is challenging. If there is an opportune time to do it, it's when gas prices are relatively low, when the state decides to cut other taxes, and when there's bipartisan support.
Pennsylvania, the state that had the highest gas tax last year, saw the highest gas tax increase of 7.9 cents per gallon, the final increment of a 2013 law. Michigan's 7.3 cents tax increase, signed into law in 2015, is the second largest increase.
On July 1, two states will increase gas taxes, one will decrease its tax, and two will be adjusted downwards per state legislation, according to Carl Davis, research director at the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP).
Among the ten state legislatures, mostly Republican controlled, which passed gas tax increases last year, the one that stood out the most was Nebraska's because it had to override Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) veto of the six-cent gas tax hike bill.
Thirty votes were needed on May 14 to overturn Gov. Pete Ricketts veto of the six cents per gallon gas tax hike approved by the state legislature, and that's just how many Sen. Jim Smith received. South Carolina may be next.
Strong leadership from the governor may be the most important factor in passing state gas tax increases. But what happens when the governor opposes increasing the gas tax and the legislature supports it? Nebraska is about to find out.