April 1, drivers in Wisconsin already paying close to record prices to fuel up
started paying nearly a penny more per gallon thanks to an automatic fuel tax
indexing formula adopted two decades ago.
response, a group of legislators have introduced a bill to end automatic
increases and require lawmakers to annually vote on any tax changes.
automatic increase in the tax has been adjusted for inflation on April 1 each
year since 1985. This year, the tax increased 0.8 cents a gallon.
the charge to end the annual fuel tax increase, Sen. Tim Carpenter,
D-Milwaukee, and Rep. Spencer Black, D-Madison, called the spring increase a “covert” tax hike.
politicians’ boast of ‘no new taxes’ is false if the Legislature allows gas
taxes to keep going up without a vote,” Black said in a statement. “Elected
officials cannot escape their accountability for tax hikes by blaming an
automatic formula. It is hypocritical for politicians to pat themselves on the
back for not raising taxes while at the same time they are quietly allowing a
major tax hike.”
said he, Carpenter and more than 20 other Democrats and Republicans are
sponsoring the legislation to require an annual vote by the House and Senate to
alter the fuel tax.
the 20 years since the automatic indexing was implemented, fuel taxes have
risen from 19.5 cents per gallon to 32.9 cents, as of Friday. The non-partisan
Legislative Fiscal Bureau estimates the latest hike will cost taxpayers an
additional $366 million this year alone.
the new tax rate, Wisconsin claims the highest average fuel tax in the nation.
Revenue from the tax, which is almost 14 cents per gallon higher than the
national average, is primarily used to build roads.
has been sent to the Senate Natural Resources and Transportation Committee.