Statehouse GOP releases roads funding plan

Indiana statehouse

The legislation eliminated all inheritance taxes.

Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma says the state's supply of lethal injection drugs, used in the execution of prisoners, is nearing their expiration dates.

The gasoline tax, last adjusted in 2003, would increase from the current 18 cents, going up 5 cents this July and another nickel in July 2018. Legislators hope to adjourn for the year Friday or Saturday.

Governor Eric Holcomb issued 24-hour news 8 statement about the deal.

As expected, the package imposes new vehicle fees, and raises gas taxes 10 cents, with additional increases of up to a penny a year to keep up with inflation. All passenger vehicle owners would be required to pay an annual $15 infrastructure fee, and electric vehicle owners would pay $150 since they do not pay gasoline tax.

Statehouse Republican leaders are praising their plan to raise taxes on motorists in order to pay for road infrastructure improvements across Indiana.

More news: RESULTS: How would you vote in a snap General Election in June?

It won't contain a hike in the state's cigarette tax.

In recent years, Republican-championed policies have eliminated taxes on inheritances, cut corporate tax rates and cut property taxes. At the same time they increased the state's reliance on sales tax, which disproportionately impacts poor or working class people.

That's eliminated about $650 million from the state's budget, according to estimates from Purdue University economist Larry DeBoer.

"This thoughtful approach also makes sure to fund both state and local road projects - which we know is very important for Hoosier companies - and that everyone pays their fair share through a user-fee based model". But the deal they reached only gets them part of the way there and doesn't address all of the state's transportation funding needs, which are estimated at $2 billion in new revenue a year. But he says as fuel efficiency improves, the state will have to confront the question of tolls.

The bill also would authorize the governor to seek federal approval to implement tolling on interstate highways, something several groups vehemently opposed.

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