By Rachel Hoffmeyer
The Republican road plan has passed the House, but leaders expect changes to be made in the Senate.
“This is a part of the process,” said Pelath. “This is the beginning and this is an opportunity for us to lay out some of the differences.”
The GOP plan would raise the gasoline tax, raise the cigarette tax by $1 and allow counties and municipalities to impose a wheel tax. Democrats, however, want to use the surplus instead of raising taxes. Sen. Scott Pelath, D-Michigan City, said the tax increases target low-income Hoosiers.
“One thing that is important to understand about raising motor fuel tax and cigarette tax,” said Pelath, “is it affects consumers and workers.”
“This is not a regressive tax on the poor,” said Ed Soliday, R-Valparaiso. “We’re raising money on trucking companies. That raises the cost of corporations who deliver products and the trucking companies who are driving for them.”
The road funding plan also would lower the personal income tax by 5 percent by 2025. Pelath argued the decision to cut the tax would help the wealthy instead of going to middle or low income Hoosiers. But House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, said in a statement the proposal is what Indiana needs.
“The plan addresses immediate state and local funding needs while providing for long-term sustainability,” said Bosma. “We are encouraged by the bill’s support, especially as the measure heads to the Senate for consideration.”
The bill passed the House 61-36. Eight Republicans broke party lines to vote against the bill.