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Eye On Boise

Mon., Feb. 10, 2014, 9:22 a.m.

‘You are hurting my business - you need to raise my gas tax’

With legislation from the Idaho Trucking Association pending to raise Idaho’s gas tax, Rep. Phylis King, D-Boise, asked Deputy Transportation Director Scott Stokes this morning, “If you were to get this 2 cents a year for the next three years, how would you prioritize that money?” Stokes said, “Safety and the commercial economic opportunity of Idaho will be the driving factors. We would have to sit down with the transportation board and carefully prioritize. … Obviously, that is less than what is needed overall to move forward with the goals of the governor’s task force, so we would have to have the board make that decision which way they wanted to invest with that money.”

The bill, HB 481, has been introduced in the House Transportation Committee, but hasn’t had a hearing. It would raise Idaho’s 25 cent per gallon fuel tax by two cents each year in 2014, ’15 and ’16 to 31 cents. By 2017, that would make an additional $52.8 million available to ITD after July 1, 2017. Each penny increase adds up to $8.8 million a year.

Sen. Dan Schmidt, D-Moscow, said he’s had constituents poke their fingers in his chest and say, “You are hurting my business. You need to raise my gas tax. And these guys are truckers - they’re not Democrats either.” He asked if ITD is examining the economic impact of increased gas taxes in Idaho. Stokes said a study is under way. “We’re anxious to be able to provide this information, probably by the end of the year,” he said.

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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