Funding of state’s roads will be hot topic

Evansville Courier & Press

Hoosiers likely will have the option in the coming year of deciding whether they want to boost spending on road funding.

Indeed, the two sources of increased spending likely will be decided by Republicans who overwhelmingly control legislative decision.

House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) has offered a plan which would add a projected 5 cents a gallon to the state gasoline tax and it would increase by $1 the state’s per pack cigarette tax to help shift all of the current sales tax on gasoline to funding road projects.

However, Republican Gov. Mike Pence has a different idea.

Pence has proposed a $1 billion highway funding increase over four years by taking money from the state’s cash reserves and taking out loans.

Obviously, Pence’s plan would avoid a tax increase. According to The Associated Press report, Indiana’s 18 cents a gallon gasoline tax was last increased in 2002.

Democratic lawmakers who have no majority influence in the Legislature have been critical of Republicans for the condition of some roads in Indiana, and they have proposed a $2 billion plan.

However, Hoosiers have strong opinions on tax and spending increases, assuring us that the 2016 session will be dominated by debate of how to improve Indiana roads.