Sen. Dean Cameron, R-Rupert, offered a 4-cent gas tax increase next year, followed by another 2 cents two years later, and then another 2 cents four years out, a total of 8 cents. “That probably gets close to our bottom line,” he said. “That’s less than what our body wants, and it’s higher than your body wants, and we’ve made a significant dent in the shortfall.”
Rep. John Vander Woude, R-Nampa, said, “I’d go for 4, 2, and 1.” He said he didn’t want to go beyond six years out.
Cameron said, “Seven cents is only $63 million by itself.” The Senate amendments to HB 312 would have generated $91 million for roads and bridges from gas tax increases over the next four years. Cameron asked Vander Woude, “Would you consider going 4 and 4?”
Vander Woude said, “Then we get to 8 cents, and I start losing caucus members at 8 cents.” Rep. Joe Palmer agreed. “I think we get to 8 cents, we’re going to lose enough votes that we won’t get there. … I think if we went 4-2-1, and then maybe in the next four years, we look at that. … I would support 4-2-1 at this point.”
At that point, the conference committee went back at ease.