Gov. Mead pushes 10-cent Wyoming fuel-tax hike
By Mark Wilcox
November 30, 2012 --
CHEYENNE — Gov. Matt Mead today announced he hopes to push a 10-cent fuel-tax hike for the state during the upcoming legislative session.
The change would provide the Wyoming Department of Transportation a steady revenue increase of $71 million, allowing the department to be more efficient with its funds than it has been, waiting on less reliable money, according to Mead.
"We can't just grab it out of the general fund willy-nilly at the expense of what else we want to do," Mead said during a news conference today. But that, Mead said, is exactly what the state has been forced to do in recent years.
And though $71 million won't entirely cover the $134 million funding gap for Wyoming's roads, Mead refers to it as "a good start."
Meanwhile, a Wyoming family of four is likely to spend $114 more per year on gas under the rate increase, which would put the Wyoming gas tax, now second-lowest in the nation more on par with other states in the region. About half of the $71 million raised by the additional 10-cent tax annually would come from out-of-state drivers, Mead said. It may be possible there is not a direct price correlation of a 10-cent increase at the pump, Mead said, as suppliers and distributors sometimes take Wyoming's lower fuel tax into account when bidding gas out to nearby states.
"We're paying more for the privilege of using their roads than they are for ours," Mead said. Even so, Mead reported receiving many letters on the issue expressing either support or disdain for the hike.
If disdain prevails and the tax hike doesn't go through legislature, he has asked instead for a similarly reliable money stream for WYDOT coming from severance taxes. He added he wouldn't entertain the option of both a new gas tax and a severance stream to cover the full shortfall.
In other budget news, the final budget cuts for the proposed 8 percent cuts across all state agencies came in at 6.15 percent in a complex state budget.
"We have my budget here which is beginning to rival in pages the Affordable Care Act," he said to laughter.
Soon after, Mead reported he has for now denied the full Medicaid expansion required by that act. However, he has requested to lift the ban the legislature imposed last year to decide on moving forward with any portion of Obamacare, which could pave the way to the state implementing its own health insurance exchange in place of the federal one that is likely to go in place. He also said he was able to ask Secretary Kathleen Sebelius of the Department of Health and Human Services why the state's questions regarding the ACA have not been answered.
"That was in part because they were still working on the answers," Mead said.Normal0falsefalsefalseMicrosoftInternetExplorer4
For more on the fuel tax, see the November issue of
the Wyoming Business Report.
Michael Sandidge in Cheyenne,wy at [12/3/2012 11:12:04 AM]
Mr. Durante is right. Gasoline is not a luxury item for the working class, it's something we all have to use to survive. Being a state employee I am barely doing that since Gov. Mead will not support a raise.
Lawrence Durante in Sheridan, Wy at [12/1/2012 8:37:59 AM]
Sure, put it on the backs of the general public. Hey Gov Mead, it's not our cars and pickups that are causing all our roads to fall into disrepair. It's those big semi's, drilling rigs, water trucks, dirt movers etc. that cause the damages. It takes 10's of thousands of cars to do the same damage as only one big heavy rig does to our roadways. Of course industry and agriculture will somehow, no doubt, be exempt from any new fuel taxes he proposes !!!!!! If we need more money, increase the severance taxes on our natural resources that are currently way tooooo low, instead of a gas tax that will hurt the average family in Wyoming. Gasoline is not a luxury item, it's something we all have to use to survive. You can bet industry will really be throwing their money around during the upcoming legislative session. Hopefully our elected representatives can do the right thing and look past those lobbyists offering - all the free dinners (and whatever else they can legally get away with), that those hired guns will be doling out this session !