Despite a politically hostile climate for anyone considering increasing taxes, somehow lawmakers in six states (mostly in the North and West) managed to do just that. The chart below produced by Tax Justice Blog shows gas tax increases will be in effect beginning July 1st in Idaho, Georgia, Maryland, Rhode Island, Vermont. (California will see a gas tax decrease of 6 cents, which is due to the state linking its gas taxes to the price of gasoline, which of course has fallen significantly since its last adjustment.)
Of all the states on this list, the most interesting is Nebraska, whose famously unicameral and “non-partisan” Legislature somehow garnered enough votes to override a veto by Republican Governor Pete Ricketts. After the veto override back in May, Gov. Ricketts was not happy with the move and issued the following statement:
The Legislature’s decision to raise the gas tax hurts hardworking Nebraskans who can least afford a tax hike. When I travel the state, Nebraskans tell me that they need tax relief, not tax increases. Our state already has the 13th highest property taxes, the 15th highest income taxes, and this tax hike makes our gas tax rate the 16th highest in the nation. This tax increase will not only hurt Nebraska’s hardworking families, but it will only make it more difficult to grow Nebraska because of our state’s burdensome tax climate.
Besides for Gov. Rickett’s selective use of tax ranking “facts” (this report produced by the Tax Foundation places Nebraska at exactly the middle of the pack for total state and local taxes), this goes to show that some state leaders are still deciding to ahead and take a hit politically in the near-term by increasing gas taxes to fund infrastructure for the long-term. For the sake of our nation’s crumbling infrastructure, let’s hope more of our state elected leaders decide to do the same.