Wyoming bill dies; it would have increased fuel tax

| 2/28/2008

A failed effort in Wyoming sought to increase the state’s fuel tax by a dime per gallon during the next three years. It marks the second straight year the legislation didn’t win favor from lawmakers.

Concerns about transportation funding led an interim state legislative panel to offer the bill that 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.

Instead, the House voted not to hear the bill that sought to increase the state’s 14-cent-per-gallon tax on diesel and gas to 24 cents in three steps. The bill – HB29 – would have risen to 17 cents in January 2009. It would have increased another 3 cents in 2010 and another 4 cents in January 2011.

The tax hike also would have included the tax for leaking underground storage tanks.

The legislative effort met a similar fate last year. That effort was killed by a committee vote.

Supporters said the revenue from a tax increase is needed to help fund needed road work. They also point out that only Alaska has a lower fuel tax rate than Wyoming.

Opponents, including Gov. Dave Freudenthal, are against higher taxes. They cite already high prices at the fuel pump and strong state revenues.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Wyoming in 2008, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor