POSTED: Monday, March 18, 2013 - 6:13pm
UPDATED: Friday, March 22, 2013 - 8:31pm
Tyler, Texas (KETK) — According to the Texas Comptrollers' office Texas is $41.3 billion dollars in debt, and the debt owed to the Texas Department of Transportation reaches a whopping 13 billion.
Solutions to solve this debt problem have been floating around the Legislature in Austin, In February Republican State Senator, Kevin Eltife proposed raising the gasoline tax, which hasn't been raised 21 years.
Senator Eltife tells KETK in a previous phone interview, "Choose your position none of us like taxes, choose raising the gas tax a dime or, not together or, maybe you expand the sales tax base or raise the sales tax." Last week, Eltife filed legislation that would ask voters to temporarily approve increasing the state sales tax rate by half a percentage point to pay off Texas’s debt owed to TxDot.
Eltife says, "It takes political courage to raise a little tax."
Local representitive, Matt Schaefer of Smith County’s District 6, commends Eltife for speaking up about the money Texas owes saying, "Good on Kevin Eltife for talking about the debt."
However, raising taxes to fund repayment of that debt isn't something Schaefer is comfortable with.
Schaefer tells KETK, "I believe we have to clean up our act a little bit, before we come back to the public and say give us more money. I believe we have to look at the existing taxes we have out there and see if we are using that money efficiently."
Schaefer says, many times the money that should be spent on our Texas roads, doesn't end up there. He says he wants to hold the current tax dollars, and government more fiscally accountable,
"I want to see us have clean hands as a government before we come back to hard working Texans and say, "give us more money."