Tuesday Open Lines

Monday evening the NC Legislature put together discussions to not allow an already in place hike in gas tax to take effect on January 1st.  North Carolina’s gas tax is linked to the wholesale price of gas. It adjusts automatically every six months. It’s scheduled to increase by nearly 4 cents per gallon on January 1st.  Capping the tax at its present level would mean the loss of $95 million in revenue for the state’s transportation system.  About a third could be offset from reserves, supporters say. But the rest would come out of operating funds already budgeted for the year.  (read more)

In evening voting sessions, the votes were there to enable the cap for 6 months, meaning that come January 1st, the gas tax would not be increased.  However, a final vote on the bill has been pushed back to Tuesday.

Many different voices testified regarding this, with NCDOT insisting they needed the additional taxes to pay for road and bridge maintenance.  They also argued it would cost jobs.  With CAPA insisting that 6000 jobs would be lost.  When asked to say how many jobs were create due to previous tax hikes, they cited that none were created as the private marketplace is gone.  NC DOT claims that North Carolina has one of the lowest highway use taxes in the US.  Except for that means vehicle sales tax, not tax at the pumps.  NC DOT then stated that there was little correlation between any gas tax rates and the price at the pump and that the the price at the pump comes from how far you are from the terminal.   The North Carolina Asphalt Association cited not allowing the tax increase would cost about 2,800 jobs in the private sector.

However, representatives both Democrat and Republican argued raising taxes would hurt the economy and cause increases in not only gas costs, but repercussion costs to transported goods.  Representatives argued that auto club AAA rates North Carolina gas prices as above that of other states.  NC DOT responded that when the prices last went in July NC was the only state where the prices at the pump went down.

It was an interesting exchange of interests, however in the end although the House Finance Committee voted to approve the gas tax cap, the House legislature opted to put the vote off until later today.

In other news, we’ll also be posting more information regarding last nights city council meeting as soon as we get it. 

Also, a quick reminder that this coming Monday, the Vance County Board of Commissioners will meet.  We’ll post the agenda as soon as we receive that as well.

Christmas with the Embers this coming Friday, and the Henderson Christmas Parade on Sunday this weekend.  Be sure to stir up some conversation as Wednesday at noon we’ll have a drawing for a random commenter to win a pair of Christmas with the Embers tickets.

Welcome to the Open Lines!