Indiana House Republicans propose tax increases to fix roads

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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The price at the pump might soon rise, because Indiana House members want extra money to repair roads and bridges.

The announcement kicked-off the 2017 Indiana House session. Here’s what they are proposing: a ten cent, per gallon tax increase. $15 annual vehicle fee, and $150 annual electric vehicle fee.

“Adding the registration fee, and the gas tax, for the average Hoosier, $5 per month,” Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma said. Which comes to $60 per vehicle, per year.

It’s a plan that would generate millions in extra income. According to republicans, in 2018, the gas tax boost would generate $166 million. The $15 vehicle fee would generate $90 million, and electric vehicle fee would produce an extra $2 million.

But democrats would like to see wealthy tax breaks end to fund this instead. “We have to consider about who’s burying the burden for these expenses and is it distributed fairly,” Indiana House Minority Leader State Rep. Scott Pelath said. “If there’s shared sacrifices, they have to truly be shared, and that’s yet to be determined.”

Fixing roads isn’t only a state problem. Local leaders, including Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness, took part in the GOP announcement because they need additional money to fix roads as well.

“There is a challenge and we have to articulate the need,” Mayor Fadness said. “I think most Hoosiers that drive will understand when they drive across those rough roads there is a need.”

On Tuesday, Senate Democrats labeled 2017 as the most tax increasing session they’ve ever seen.

Wednesday, House Republicans laughed at the idea, and say their proposal is a necessary one to keep Hoosiers moving.

“We’ve had more historic tax cuts in the last decade than collectively, almost none of them supported by democrats, than democrats have, I’m just going to go out on a limb and say, advocated in our state’s 200 year history,” House Speaker Bosma said.

The 2017 agenda isn’t only on roads. House Republicans want to work on education, workforce readiness and the drug crisis.

House Democrats want election reform and increased citizen participation. Both the house and senate won’t meet until Monday.

We should hear from them Thursday. Governor-elect Eric Holcomb will lay out his agenda at the state house Thursday afternoon. As far as the house tax proposal, the governor-elect supports the idea of fixing roads, but didn’t say in a statement if he likes the idea of raising taxes to do so.

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