INDIANAPOLIS (WISH)–Here’s something you don’t hear everyday: Republicans in the Statehouse proposed a pair of tax hikes.
They want the money to improve roads and streets in Indiana.
Roads will be a big issue in the 2016 campaign. So big that voters will support a pair of tax hikes to improve them. At least that’s what House Speaker Brian Bosma and his fellow House Republicans believe.
Bosma said that he is anti-tax but pro-growth. That’s why he proposed hiking the state’s gas tax and the cigarette tax to produce new road money on Monday.
Under his plan the gas tax, which is now 18 cents a gallon, would go up 4 cents and electric car owners would pay a $100 registration fee.
The cigarette tax would go up by a dollar a pack.
It would create an ongoing source of road money as opposed to the one-time infusions proposed in separate plans put forward by Senate Republicans, Democrats and the governor.
“It will increase gas tax for the average Hoosier by about 25 dollars,” said Bosma. “This is a small price to pay, a user fee, to pay for enhanced roads, enhanced bridges, an economic infrastructure that is very critical to create jobs and maintain jobs. So we think this is an appropriate measure.”
“As far as the funding of it and what my people are telling me is that, yes, they are willing to pay for something,” said Westfield Mayor Andy Cook. “Where we can show them a return on their investment.”
Speaker Bosma said that the average Hoosier pays $366 a year in car repairs made necessary by problem roads.
The plan would bring in $500 million a year in road money.
Opponents include convenience stores who object more to the cigarette tax hike than the gas tax hike, and anti-tax groups.