An effort expected to draw consideration during the upcoming legislative session in Wyoming would increase the state’s fuel tax by a dime per gallon during the next three years.
An interim state legislative panel that focused on transportation funding last summer unanimously decided to offer the bill during the regular session that starts Feb. 11. The measure would generate more than $55 million annually by charging higher state taxes on diesel and gasoline. The state would get about $37 million from the tax increase while counties and cities would split the rest, The Casper Star-Tribune reported.
The state’s 14-cent-per-gallon tax on diesel and gas would increase to 24 cents in three steps. It would rise to 17 cents in January 2009. It would increase another 3 cents in 2010 and another 4 cents in January 2011.
The tax hike also would include the tax for leaking underground storage tanks.
Supporters say the revenue is needed to help fund needed road work. They also point out that only Alaska has a lower fuel tax rate than Wyoming.
The likelihood for passage, however, is not good. A spokesman for Gov. Dave Freudenthal said the governor is against higher taxes. He cites already high prices at the fuel pump and strong state revenues.
The bill – HB29 – is awaiting assignment to committee.
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– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor