State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.
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Corbett plan to reduce liquid fuels tax is a tank half empty for municipalities

Written by Mary Wilson, Former Capitol Bureau Chief | Feb 11, 2013 10:11 PM
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Local governments that have waited for money to fund transportation infrastructure projects are backing the governor’s proposal, even though it could ultimately increase gas prices. But they aren’t too keen on part that includes a separate tax reduction.

Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa said he’s hearing concerns about the governor’s proposal to shave a couple cents off the tax paid by consumers on gas at the pump.

“I know I just had a town hall meeting Saturday and there were a number of local officials there who were concerned about the loss of revenue that they’ll be experiencing,” said Costa. “A portion of that liquid fuels tax goes back to our local municipalities.”

Elam Herr, head of the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors, says Corbett’s plan to lower that tax isn’t being looked on too kindly.

“It would cost cities, boroughs, and townships across the state $24 million that will be divided based on the municipalities’ population,” said Herr. The $24 million would be the cost in the second year of the proposed tax reduction. Herr said the costs would amount to about $12 million in the first year.

In other quarters, gripes about Gov. Corbett’s transportation funding plan have been cautiously – many note it’s the first transportation funding plan offered since 1997.

At a conference in Harrisburg Monday, the chairman of the U.S. House Transportation Committee praised Gov. Corbett for his proposal.

“The governor, I think, is taking a bold step,” said U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster. “I know there are some out there that believe it’s not enough but it’s a step in the right direction.”

Legislation to put such proposals in place is likely to start in the Senate, where both Republicans and Democrats have voiced concerns that the governor’s plan is too modest.


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