Proposal could leave gas tax hike up to voters - - Jackson, MS

Proposal could leave gas tax hike up to voters

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT

There's not enough money to address all of the state's needs for roads and bridges. But one lawmaker is considering an idea to get new cash flowing.

Senator Dean Kirby's proposal will take some of the power away from lawmakers and instead put it in your hands when it comes to whether or not you're willing to pay more to have better roads. He suggests a statewide referendum since he doesn't think there's any way lawmakers will pass a fuel tax increase.

His plan would also add roughly 1.5 cents to the current fuel tax and a $2.50 fee per car tire. The proposal got mixed reviews from drivers we spoke with.

"Gas is already high," said Vanessa Brown. "And I'm already working two jobs trying to make ends meet. And by them taxing the gas and making it go up a little bit or tires; seems like I'll have to try to find a third job and I can't afford a third job."

"I would be in favor for it 100% because we need better roads and bridges because our bridges and roads are in terrible shape," noted Jerry Thomas. "We really need it. A gas tax hike would be great in my opinion."

Senator John Horhn agrees it may be the only way to get a gas tax hike in place with the current conservative leadership. But he adds this.

"I don't like it because I think it's giving us an opportunity as legislators to shirk our responsibility as the branch of government that's charged with raising or lower taxes," said Horhn.

Kirby's plan would also include voters saying yes or no to a list of projects for their transportation district. He says the idea being that they'd know where their money is being spent. It would also add an annual fee for hybrids and electric vehicles that aren't paying gas tax.

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