HARRISBURG PA – An economist with the American Petroleum Institute predicted Friday (Feb. 8, 2013) that Pennsylvania could end up with the highest gasoline taxes in the nation if Gov. Tom Corbett’s budget proposal to generate up to $1.8 billion annually for road and bridge repairs wins legislative approval, The Pennsylvania Independent online news service reported.
Rayola Dougher, who advises the national research and lobbying organization for the gas and oil industries, estimated in a newspaper interview that under certain conditions taxes on fuel sold in the Commonwealth may amount to as much as 75.2 cents per gallon, The Independent said. That’s significantly higher than in neighboring New York, where the institute claims taxes account for 69 cents per gallon. The national average, it added, is about 49 cents.
Exactly how much of what Corbett has proposed, if any, can be passed by the Legislature, or how much it might be modified to ensure its success, remains a matter of speculation. The budget was introduced only last week. Pro- and anti-tax forces, including the institute’s spokespersons, are already weighing in publicly to help shape whatever may become law.
Also in that mix, The Independent noted, is John Rafferty, the state senator representing Lower Pottsgrove, Limerick and Pottstown, and chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee. Rafferty has said he wants to consider increasing the costs for vehicle registration fees, drivers’ license fees and moving violation fines.
Those proposals were included in a report commissioned by Corbett in 2011 to study transportation funding options. It recommended $3.5 billion in new annual revenues to fund transportation.