Sen. Jim Smith of Papillion told colleagues during legislative debate Tuesday it’s time to raise the gas tax again.
“But I do want to have this discussion with you today, colleagues, and it needs to be a discussion,” Smith stated. “This is not a sound bite issue and many would like to reduce it to sound bites.”
Smith said Nebraska last raised the gas tax 20 years ago and the revenue it generates has failed to keep up with the infrastructure needs of the state, especially as cars have become more fuel efficient, needing less gas, generating less revenue.
LB 610 would raise the tax driver’s pay at the pump six cents over a four-year period. The new rate would total 31.6 cents a gallon. The increase would raise an extra $19 million a year for road and bridge repair and construction.
Sen. Bill Kintner of Papillion opposes the increase, arguing that the legislature hasn’t consider a new tax cut in three years.
“Can you imagine going three years and telling the overtaxed people of our state, sorry, we just can’t cut your taxes?” Kintner said. “And, then, to pour a little salt in the wound, we’re going to raise your taxes.”
The legislature debated the bill during the afternoon session. More debate is scheduled.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]