POSTED: Monday, April 15, 2013 - 5:58pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, April 16, 2013 - 7:23am
The Texas Department of Transportation says it needs money.
$4-billion a year to maintain the roads we have.
And that is one thing that is in short supply this session.
Usually, states dedicate their gasoline taxes for roads.
Two problems, our gas tax hasn’t been raised in 21 years. It hasn’t come close to keeping up with inflation.
And there isn’t the political courage in the Legislature to raise it.
And secondly, we siphon off 1.8-billion dollars of it for other things in the budget.
But Senator Robert Nichols says, the solution is as close as your nearest new car dealer.
Yep, new car sales have been through the roof. There’s a lot of pent up demand out there.
And Nichols wants to use some of that sales tax revenue for TXDOT
And he now has a big ally…Governor Rick Perry.
Senator Kevin Eltife doesn’t agree.
“All that’s doing is moving the chairs on the Titanic. You’re not solving a thing,” Eltife says.
“Of course the problem is that we need billions of dollars for transportation which would imply we need a new revenue, funding source, and we’re averse to tax increases,” says Harvey Kronberg of the Quorum Report Newsletter. “So, kudos to the Senator for trying to think outside the box.”
But the fact remains, that tax money is funding something else right now.
And that something else will now be short.
“The budget writers are concerned about losing control over the revenue they currently have,” Nichols says, “but overall, I think the members would support it. It being a constitutional amendment, the voters, most importantly, will have the final say. And I trust that the voters would overwhelmingly support it.”