County fuel tax vote passed by Oklahoma House

| Thursday, April 29, 2004

Oklahoma House lawmakers narrowly approved a bill April 20 that would permit local voters to impose a countywide, one-cent sales tax on diesel fuel and gasoline.

SB892 would allow for a special election on a proposed motor fuel tax to be called by the board of county commissioners or through an initiative petition signed by at least 5 percent of registered voters in the county, The Oklahoman reported. If approved by voters, the tax revenue could only be spent on county roads and bridges.

The House passed the bill 51-43. It now moves to a House-Senate conference committee for revisions.

The bill’s House sponsor, Rep. Paul Roan, D-Tishomingo, told the newspaper two other bills are still alive proposing a statewide vote on a fuel tax increase for roads and bridges, but he said it was unclear if any of the revenue from those measures would go to counties.

“Our counties are having the same problem our state is as far as the infrastructure of their county roads and bridges,” Roan said. “I just thought it was very important … to keep this bill alive in case neither one of those bills were able to give (counties) the help they need.”

The bills include HB2559, which would ask voters to approve a 7-cent-per-gallon gasoline tax boost and a 9-cent-per-gallon increase in diesel fuel taxes. It passed the Senate April 22.

HB2632 passed the Senate April 20. It calls for a nickel-per-gallon gas tax hike and an 8-cent-per-gallon jump in diesel.

The two bills are to go to a conference committee where a final version of legislation likely would be written. Drivers in the Sooner State now pay 14 cents a gallon in tax on diesel fuel and 17 cents a gallon on gasoline.

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