lawmakers are looking for more fuel tax revenue to patch
a gaping hole in the state's budget.
estimates put this year's budget deficit at more than $500
million, with another $1.2 billion shortfall predicted for
newspaper reports say Republican Gov.-elect Robert L. Ehrlich
Jr. would consider approving a 5-cent increase in fuel taxes.
The Legislature may take him up on his offer if they pass
even one of a couple of proposals for a fuel tax increase.
and SB758 would increase the motor fuel tax on diesel by
10 cents per gallon, from 24.5 cents to 34.5 cents. The same
increase would raise the tax on gasoline from 23.5 cents
to 33.5 cents per gallon.
an effective date of Jan. 1, 2004, the tax increase would
net the state $139.7 million for its Transportation Trust
Fund in the 2004 fiscal year and $282.2 million in 2005.
would increase the motor fuel tax by 5 cents per gallon and
the sales tax by 1 percent for 2004 and 2005. This tax increase
is combined with a provision to increase the state's highest
income tax bracket by 0.05 percent to 4.8 percent and lowers
the exemption for taxpayers and their dependents to $2,100
for tax years 2003 and 2004.
would impose a sales and use tax on the sale of motor fuel
and would alter the distribution of existing tax revenue
between the general fund and the Transportation Trust Fund.
Under the bill's provisions, the sellers of motor fuel will
prepay the sales tax at a rate of 7 cents per gallon for
2004, with the rate being adjusted annually based on the
average retail price of fuel for the prior calendar year.