Lawmaker proposes changes to New Mexico’s gas tax

Politics - Government

SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – Some state lawmakers want to raise your taxes at the gas pump. While it could mean a hit to the pocketbook for most, for some it could mean a rebate.

This unique bill is sponsored by Democratic Rep. Matthew McQueen, who says the state and people could use something like this.

“A lot of members, whether they’ll say it publicly or not, they know we need to increase our gas tax. We’re way behind on other states,” Rep. Matthew McQueen said. “We need the revenue, we need the roads and this is a way of doing it.”

House Bill 173 would increase the state’s gas tax by 10-cents a gallon the first year and another 5-cents each year after. It would do the same to diesel taxes, increasing 10- cents a gallon the first year. That means you could be paying 20-cents more per gallon every time you fill up next year, 25-cents the year after, and so on and so forth.

The money from that would go three places, the state road fund, to state and local governments to buy electric cars and charging stations, and to create a rebate for low-income people. It would translate to up to $150 next year, and grow each year after that. But this proposal is getting heat from Republicans.

“So I believe very strongly that gasoline taxes should go to roads, that it is a user fee, and we all know that our roads are completely destroyed; that there’s a lot of work that needs to be done,” Rep. Jason Harper, (R) Rio Rancho, said. “We had $3 billion of excess revenue these past few years. We should’ve pumped almost all of that into roads, and instead, we’re now talking about tripling our gasoline tax.”

The bill will be heard in a House committee on Friday.

New Mexico has one of the lowest gas taxes in the country at about 19-cents a gallon. Texas, Arizona, and Oklahoma are similar. The highest is California at 61-cents, followed by Pennsylvania.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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