From State Senator David Parker:
From the first day of this legislative session, there has been talk about a gas tax increase. A potential bill in the highways and transportation committee on Tuesday called for an increase in the state gas tax of 8% which is roughly around 20 cents per gallon. In addition there were increases in tag and trailer fees. Combined this would total a little more than $400 million per year in increased taxes.
Instead of bringing the bill up for a vote, the committee chairman introduced a “dummy” bill which brought the code section needed forward to allow the “conversation for a gas tax increase” alive. This “dummy” bill was debated for two hours on Wednesday.
The debate revealed the following:
1) The average family in MS has saved $700 per year since gas prices declined
2) MS spends much more per mile to build highways than many states in the nation
3) No study on spending by the MS Dept of transportation has been performed
4) Without passage of this “dummy” bill, there would be no chance for a gas tax increase this year.
These facts made my decision on this bill clear. I am NOT in favor of a gas tax increase so therefore keeping a “dummy vehicle” alive in the session did not make sense to me. I and twelve other Senators voted No. These 12 included 6 Republicans (Hill, Massey, McDaniel, Seymour, Watson, and myself) and 7 Democrats. Unfortunately 34 other Senators voted to keep the dummy bill alive.
This means that the potential for a gas tax increase is still alive. I will continue to work to try to prevent an increase in the gas tax this session. Please let your Senators and Representatives know your opinion on this very important issue!