The Platte Institute for Economic Research keeps a close eye on government spending and promotes tax relief for all Nebraskans. However, Executive Director Jim Vokal says they are behind a bill (LB 610) that would increase the state’s gas tax six cents a gallon to improve roads and bridges. He says in the last two years, 11 states have increased their gas tax and that route is attractive to policy makers for several reasons.
Vokal says, “It takes the pressure of general fund budgets and county budgets that would have to increase their property taxes to handle and deficit or volatility. The other policy advantage of this user fee approach is that those folks, many from outside Nebraska that are using our transportation system are the ones that are paying for these great infrastructure needs.”
Vokal says we have an $800-million dollar to $1-billion need, depending on how it is estimated and it is hard to find that resource other than debt, tolls or user fees. He says the user fee approach is the fairest approach to find the money to repair the failing infrastructure.
Even though the Platte Institute backs LB 610, Vokal says they are disappointed that Lawmakers have not yet taken action on income and property tax relief for all residents.