Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
Tue, Oct. 22

Editorial: Gas was $1.14 a gallon in 1991, but tax on it remains same today

State lawmakers know Gov. Doug Ducey usually holds firm with his “find another way” stance when it comes to raising taxes.

Prescott residents saw this first hand last year when the Arizona Department of Transportation, among others, were forced to conjure up a plan to help pay for infrastructure, increasing vehicle fees by $32 in December 2018.

So when Rep. Noel Campbell, R-Prescott, called for a new law Thursday that would double the state’s 18-cent-a-gallon gasoline tax at a press conference promoting the widening of 23 miles along I-17 between Anthem and Sunset Point, fellow lawmakers likely cringed.

“You know what my feelings are about taxes,” Gov. Ducey told Capitol Media Services on Thursday.

Campbell, the head of the House of Transportation Committee, is crafting legislation to double the state’s gasoline tax, which hasn’t changed since 1991, and hopes to convince colleagues it’s the right thing to do for the future of Arizona roads.

“A tax dollar in 1991 is worth 47 cents today,” Campbell touted. The national average for a gallon of gas back then? $1.14.

The revenues from the current levy, about $750 million a year, are insufficient to meet the state’s growing needs. So a tax raise makes sense, right? After all, the state of Arizona is charged with not only building new roads, but maintaining existing highways.

In our December 2018 editorial, “New vehicle registration fee is tax in disguise,” the Courier editorial board called for lawmakers to raise the gas tax because it would be “fairer” to everyone.

“The highways and funding needs to support DPS and ADOT services should not fall only on residents who own cars,” the Courier editorial board wrote. “People from out of state cause expenses too, and they buy gas here.”

Exactly. Everyone using Arizona’s roads would pay to help keep them up, not just residents that live here.

Although many of our local Prescott residents would hate to pay more taxes, in the end, the legislation is what’s best for future travelers of our state roads.

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