Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
(Scott Sommerdorf | Tribune file photo) At least two bills dealing with increased taxes to pay for Utah roads have been introduced in the Legislature. One would actually cut gas taxes and increase the general sales tax. The other would tie the fuel tax to prices.
Competing gas tax changes surface at the Capitol

First Published Feb 04 2014 06:18 pm • Last Updated Feb 05 2014 09:37 am

Utah lawmakers are considering competing proposals to change Utah’s gasoline tax — both of which could result in an increase in the amount taxpayers pay in gas taxes in future years.

The proposals — one sponsored by Rep. Johnny Anderson, R-Taylorsville, the other by Sen. John Valentine, R-Orem — would restructure the way gas taxes are assessed.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

"They’re both good bills," said Valentine.

Anderson’s plan, presented to the House GOP Caucus Tuesday, would decrease what Utahns pay at the pump, cutting the current 24.5-cent-per-gallon tax in half. That would be offset, however, by an across-the-board increase of 0.2 percent in the sales tax on every other purchase Utahns make including, potentially, food.

And the 12.25-cent-per-gallon tax would then be tied to changes in the cost of maintaining roads, which means after the first year, the per-gallon tax could increase by as much as 2 percent a year.

"This is a way to adjust the gas tax based on our maintenance needs," Anderson said. Based on historic trends, he said, the average household would end up paying an extra $1.17 at the pump, bringing in about $3 million more a year.

Valentine’s proposal, meantime, takes a similar approach, but keeps the focus exclusively on the fuels tax, rather than imposing a broader sales tax.

"We have a philosophical dispute on that point," Valentine said. "I’d prefer to see more of the users of the roads pay the burden."

House Speaker Becky Lockhart, R-Provo, said the reason for raising the sales tax more broadly is because "everyone in society benefits from good transportation, even if you sit at home and never drive," so it’s fair for them to pay for the roads.

Both proposals aim at not increasing the amount of gas tax revenue collected in the first year, then to let the amount grow over time to create a more stable stream of money to build and maintain roads.

story continues below
story continues below

For years, better fuel economy and alternate-fuel vehicles have led to a decline in the gas tax money collected and left lawmakers grappling with how to pay to build and maintain roads.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.