By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services via Arizona Capitol Times
A proposal to double the state’s gasoline tax is in trouble.
On Thursday, several Republican lawmakers told Rep. Noel Campbell, R-Prescott, they would not support his proposal for a three-step increase in the levy that eventually would bring it to 36 cents a gallon. Their comments came even after House Speaker Rusty Bowers, R-Mesa, urged support, telling them that the state’s road construction and maintenance needs exceed the amount of money the 18-cent-a-gallon tax now raises.
Campbell likely has the support of the 29 Democrats in the 60-member chamber. That, combined with his own vote and that of Bowers and Rep. Bob Thorpe, R-Flagstaff, gets him a majority.
But a state constitutional provision requires a two-thirds vote of both the House and Senate for any increase in taxes. And Campbell conceded he doesn’t have that now – and may not be able to get it.
Bowers said one option would be for Campbell to scale back the proposal, perhaps with a smaller increase spread over a longer number of years. And, if nothing else, the speaker said Campbell should at least pursue putting an automatic inflation index into the current 18-cent levy to ensure that its buying power does not erode further
There is another option: