Fuel tax hike passes Senate, now for House consideration - Must Read Alaska
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Thursday, April 15, 2021
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Fuel tax hike passes Senate, now for House consideration

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Senate Bill 115, doubling the tax on gasoline for motorists, passed the Senate today 12-5, with Republicans and Democrats lining up on each side of the question.

Voting yes were Senators Tom Begich, Click Bishop, John Coghill, Cathy Giessel, Elvi Gray-Jackson, Lyman Hoffman, Jesse Kiehl, Peter Micciche, Donny Olson, Josh Ravak, Gary Stevens and Natasha Von Imhof.

Against the measure were Mat-Su Valley Senators Shelley Hughes, Lora Reinbold, Mike Shower and David Wilson, all Republicans. They were joined by Anchorage Democrat Bill Wielechowski. Valley residents who commute to Anchorage will be particularly impacted by the tax, since many people fill up their tanks more than twice a week to make the trek from Palmer-Wasilla to jobs in Anchorage.

Alaska’s gas tax is 8 cents per gallon, which is the lowest in the nation. The new tax would increase it to 16 cents per gallon, which would be an additional $1.20 on 15 gallons of gas.

SB 115 now goes to the House. If passed, there’s no guarantee that Gov. Mike Dunleavy would not veto the tax hike, which would raise nearly $34 million per year.

There’s also no guarantee the extra millions would be used for road repair. The Alaska Constitution prohibits dedicated funds, in spite of the promises made by Sen. Click Bishop, the bill’s sponsor, that the funds would be used specifically for filling potholes and repairing other road liabilities.

Sen. Micciche of Kenai, a conservative Republican, said he would wait to see what the House does with the bill before he decides whether to support it in its final form, but he considers it a conservative solution and a user fee: “…the more you drive, the more you pay. The increase will result in approximately $50 per year for a family in a large vehicle that drives 15,000 miles per year,” he said.

The tax would also be paid for by tourists who travel Alaska’s roads in large recreational vehicles, and by commercial vehicles. Some trucking companies have favored the bill because the condition of some of Alaska’s roads is causing increased maintenance.

In addition to the tax increase, fees on hybrid and electric vehicles would increase. Electric vehicle owners would pay a $100 biennial registration fee of $100, the owner of a plug-in hybrid would pay $50.

                  
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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • What about ele cars? Could there be a 50 dollar increase per year added to their registration fees to at least cover their road user fees? They could have a special yearly renewable fee for being renewable. Other states, that are very political correct, are into fair sharing of contributing. The fair share on the oil companies reminded me of shared responsibility.

    Changes coming to Oregon vehicle fees in 2020
    https://www.kdrv.com/content/news/Changes-coming
    Nov 14, 2019 · If you have an electric vehicle or a car that gets more than 40 miles per gallon, you’ll have two options. You can pay the full fee up front to register or renew your tags, or you can pay a lower fee and a monthly per-mile charge for miles driven in Oregon if you join OReGO. There will also be an increase in fees for commercial …

  • Any tax on gasoline strikes at the heart of those that cannot afford transportation will be the hardest hit. Here is a novel idea, why don’t the true Republicans just vote out you RINO Republicans and we just start afresh…

  • Sen. Click Bishop and his co sponsors are nothing more than liars who will keep spending and stealing until they run out the older Alaskans. They have an addiction and its spending your money. They are pushing this through to make you choose between taking your PFD or pay higher taxes at the pump that will only end in a income tax.

    Alaska is rich in oil and natural gas and yet we are charged astronomical rates for our own products (monopolies Enstar, Chughach). We have outside groups pushed into local politics for the removal of our dually elected governor because he wants to control spending and waste within the state’s government.

    All the names of these legislators who have put these bills together must be publicized prior to reelection in order to get the people pissed off enough to vote them out and put an end to their political employment with a loud demand: Stop stealing our money!

    • Click Bishop is just a mid-rank union boss who is used to taxing, stealing union dues, and spending the members’ money. Now he does it with Alaskan’s money. Did I mention he’s also the dumbest member in the Legislature?

  • Trucking companies support a bill that has no guarantee to be used on the roads. They are cutting their own throats with a dull knife.

  • Honestly I don’t see the problem and paying an extra $2 a week for gas. that’s like half a cup of coffee at one of them coffee stands. That’s an egg McMuffin, less than a loaf of bread. Heck, I lose that much change in a week’s time.

    • Good context.

    • With respect, the problem is productive Alaskans are being forced to reward their Rulers’ rampant waste, fraud, and mismanagement with, what else, more money.
      .
      You can bet no special-interest group and corporation will pay the tax. Non special interest corporations will pay the tax and simply pass the cost on to consumers.
      .
      It’s not about “road maintenance”. Look how fast the New Seward Highway repair project is falling apart.
      .
      Oh it’s about studded tires… the hell it is… How do productive Alaskans know for a fact overloaded trucks, bid rigging, kickbacks, bad design, shoddy construction practices, shoddy construction material are not problems?
      .
      Such problems are fixable only with more taxes?
      .
      Roads are expensive to build and maintain… sure, when the contractor can dream up any number and government will pay it because money’s no object, it’s not their money, and that contractor’s somehow the only one who’s available.
      .
      No, People’s Imperial State President and Co-Governor Giessel’s goons stiffed productive Alaskans just because they can, Assistant Co-Governor Edgmon’s crew is okay with the stiffery, and productive Alaskans can’t do a thing about it.
      .
      For now…

    • Consumers pay a double tax.
      We pay the gas tax for our personal vehicles and the price of everything we buy at the store will go up as well to pay for the increased transportation costs. Do you think those additional fees won’t get passed along to the consumer?

  • Too bad about Revak.
    .
    That one seemed to have promise.
    .
    Turns out to be just another Giessel clone…
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    Look at the bright side: no expectations, therefore no disappointments.
    .
    Good job, Josh!
    .
    Now get busy with our income and sales taxes, you can do it!

  • But doubling it? That seems a big jump. And becareful about user fees. Next thing you know everything will have a fee…like you buy a firearm & ammo and you have to pay a user fee (tax) to help pay for the effects of gun violence. Its an insidious rationale.

  • Consumers pay a double tax.
    We pay the gas tax for our personal vehicles and the price of everything we buy at the store will go up as well to pay for the increased transportation costs. Do you think those additional fees won’t get passed along to the consumer?

  • Our government (of all levels) would not exist in the form it is today if it weren’t for oil. Oil and its derivatives are the most taxed commodity ever. We tax it before it leaves the ground, we tax the ground above it, we tax it when it is pumped out of the ground, we tax it to ship it, we tax it to process it, we tax it to use it, we even tax the sale of it. Oil funds the government (of all levels) one day when we have taxed it to the point it is no longer profitable we will be sorry that we taxed it to death.

  • What about bicycles, they take up space on the roads with special lanes just for them and they pay nothing! They need to contribute as well, registration, licenses pay a fee.

    • If you want to broaden the base & use the user fee reasoning ( if you use the roads you have to pay for roads) for the fuel tax absolutely provide a registration surcharge for electric vehicles. Or an assessment/user fee on any & all electric vehicle charging stations Also for bicycles, to avoid the licensing burocracy, simply assess a surcharge on every new bicycle sold in the state of Alaska. Skateboards too if they ever use public infrastructure (such as sidewalks that run along roads paid for by public monies). The opportunites abound if the legislature wants to run with this user fee concept. Just don’t leave any users out. I don’t like it at all but if your going to do it, do it across the board.

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