JACKSON, Miss. (WDAM) - A proposed bill in the Mississippi legislature calls for a vote on whether to raise taxes on gasoline and diesel to help pay for road projects throughout the state.
House Bill 1364 proposes a 10 cent per gallon increase for gas and a 14 cent increase per gallon on diesel. The bill would use some of the revenue collected to repair certain roads.
Mississippi’s current motor fuel tax rate is 18.4 cents per gallon.
But, some lawmakers say the state has money it can use to fix infrastructure instead of taxing its residents.
“I think that the citizens need to know what the status of the funds of the general fund and the revenue is for the state of Mississippi,” said Rep. Omeria Scott, a Democrat representing District 80. “As of today, February 22, we have $800 million dollars worth of unallocated dollars that are available to the legislature to appropriate.”
Some Republican lawmakers agree.
“We have enough money to take care of our roads and bridges if we will prioritize and be responsible,” said Sen. Chris McDaniel, a Republican representing District 42. “The problem is politicians are rarely responsible. So instead of just doing the right thing, we want to put the burden on the people of Mississippi. That’s not fair.”
On another front, one Pine Belt senator says the tax would not be fair to everyone across the state.
“Everyone’s going to pay the tax,” said Sen. Joey Fillingane, a Republican representing District 41. “But the increased revenues generated by that tax are only going to go to specific projects sprinkled throughout the state. So, again, you’d have to look at that list and see is there something good for my district and my people or why would I support it. Otherwise, because, you know, I don’t want to tax my folks and then not get any benefit for it.”
The House has until Wednesday to vote on the bill. If passed by the full legislature.
If passed, Mississippians will vote on it on June 8, the same day as municipal elections.