Something for everyone in state fuel tax override

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Gov. Heineman will get to say he tried to hold down taxes, the state can say it's doing its best to fix the potholes in the highway, and most of us won't notice the difference in our gasoline prices.

If we do, we'll probably blame the oil company, anyway.

Thirty-four lawmakers -- four more than needed -- voted to overturn the governor's line-item veto of additional money for the Department of Roads that would trigger about a penny-per-gallon gas tax increase.

Part of the fuel tax rate fluctuates to collect just what the state budgets for road construction, so there's no guarantee the override will increase the fuel tax at all.

We've always favored fuel tax as one of the fairest, most appropriate means of funding road construction and repair. The more you use the roads, the more you pay -- even if you're only passing through the state on Interstate 80.

We're not in favor, however, of a proposed change in a bill to move about $15 million from the state's cash reserve to prevent a fuel tax increase of about 3 cents a gallon. Using general fund cash reserves to fund roads is setting a bad precedent.

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