The North Carolina Senate on Monday evening tentatively passed a compromise plan to cut the state’s gas tax to 36 cents per gallon effective April 1 and provide immediate funding stability while the General Assembly works toward a comprehensive transportation funding solution.
The plan – recommended by a bipartisan group of House and Senate members – allows the gas tax to gradually decrease from now until January 2017. After that date, it ties the calculation to a new, more stable formula based on population and energy prices – two factors that directly impact transportation costs – as a first step to providing certainty for road funding. Currently, the volatility of the existing gas tax formula makes it difficult to plan and pay for critical transportation projects.
“This bipartisan agreement between the House and Senate provides immediate tax relief for drivers as we pursue long-term transportation funding reform,” said Senate Transportation Committee Co-Chairman Bill Rabon (R-Brunswick). “And it takes an important first step to ensure North Carolina has the resources necessary to build and maintain roads and bridges that safely connect our citizens to their jobs and families.”
“This is a thoughtful compromise that helps meet the need for a sustainable revenue stream to fund our state’s roads and bridges,” said Sen. Floyd McKissick (D-Durham), a member of the Senate Bill 20 Conference Committee. “We would be remiss not to take action and pass this legislation.”
The compromise also provides a tax deduction for teachers who purchase classroom supplies out of their own pockets.
Also on Monday, the Senate passed compromise legislation to make several adjustments to the current year’s budget. The conference report to Senate Bill 14 ensures funding is available to the Academic Standards Review Commission and the Coal Ash Management Commission so they can complete their important work.
“Conference committee negotiations are often long and arduous, and I am grateful to my House and Senate colleagues for compromising to reach consensus on these important issues facing our state,” said Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham.) “Passing these bills is a testament to the positive and productive working relationship between the House and Senate.”