No decisions yet. House Tax Chairman Dennis Lake, R-Blackfoot, noted that if Idaho were to raise its gas tax enough to fund the whole $540 million-plus need the governor’s transportation funding task force has identified, “We’d be facing a 66 cent a gallon fuel tax increase. I don’t think there’s a person on the committee that thinks that’s realistic.” House Transportation Chair JoAn Wood, R-Rigby, said, “Realistically, if you’re going to go through the committee and ask them to raise the gas tax, you’re going to run into reluctance to do it higher than the states around us. So how much can we do that? … This is difficult.”
Other task force members said all options need to be looked at, not just gas tax hikes. But they disagreed on whether their recommendation should be for what should be done when the economy improves, or what should be done when the governor and Legislature think the time is right, or what. Task force member Gordon Cruickshank said, “I guess I look at that as what happens if the economy doesn’t improve. … We’re basically saying if it doesn’t improve we’re not going to do anything.”
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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