Legislators oppose gas tax increase - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Legislators oppose gas tax increase

By Kevin Wheeler - bio | email | Twitter

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Mississippi Department of Transportation officials are proposing a five cent gas tax increase. They say the increase would help pay for the state's transportation needs.

"If we are going to continue to improve roads, replace bridges, and maintain our roads there has to be some form of new funding," said Wayne Brown, Southern District Commissioner for MDOT.

The state's current 18 cent gas tax is one of the lowest in the country. State legislators agree there needs to be new funding, but many say raising taxes is not the right way to do it.

"We certainly need it, but I could not support that," said State Senator Tom King.

"I just don't see enough support for it in the senate for it to even get out of committee," said State Senator Billy Hudson.

"I think probably the worst formula for trying to turn the economy around would be increasing anyone's taxes," said Sen. Joey Fillingane.

State Representative Larry Byrd said he supports a tax increase. He believes five cents is to small of an increase to meet the state's needs.

"The price of fuel gasoline and diesel fluctuates so much that five cents would really hardly be noticeable to people, said Byrd.

Commissioner Brown said tough economic times are something that can no longer be avoided.

"It's always tough economic times," said Brown. "When gas was four dollars a gallon it was tough, when gas was a dollar a gallon it was tough. It's going to always be tough," said Brown.

Legislators say they want to stay away from tax increases and move toward finding new ways to fund the department.

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