Show me the money Governor
By Rep. John Harris
September 03, 2009
It's hard to believe it was barely a year ago when the legislature
voted to suspend the state's eight-cent-per-gallon tax on gasoline.
Our new Governor Sean Parnell is now calling to continue the
tax holiday past September 1, 2009. If he seriously wants to
make it happen, he has the constitutional authority to call the
legislature into special session at any time.
I can understand and appreciate anyone's desire to cut taxes.
It's politically popular and offers an easy sound-bite
especially to folks in rural areas who are looking for meaningful
help with high energy costs.
When the legislature voted to suspend the fuel tax, I was Speaker
of the House and voted in favor of the bill. At that time, gasoline
prices were over $4 per gallon at the pump, and the legislature
was leading efforts to help lower energy costs in the short and
The area I represent, House District 12, stretches from Palmer
to Glennallen to Valdez and up to Delta Junction and Salcha.
My wallet has been lightened at gas pumps over the 12 years that
I've travelled back and forth to constituent meetings. No one
would love to see prices lowered at the pump more, but the cost
of maintaining the highways in these communities isn't going
If Parnell can show us a plan for keeping up with the cost of
maintaining roads, airports, docks, and other transportation
infrastructure without the benefit of $40 million in revenues
from motor fuel taxes, I will support his efforts.
Governors are responsible for making sure there's money in the
budget for roads, public buildings, and infrastructure. There
has to be a way to keep up with every-day wear and tear on them
especially because we're already falling behind on this.
Our governor must take the lead.
We shouldn't go back to the late 1990's when legislators bragged
about cutting budgets while ignoring maintenance and other basic
costs. Short-term political gains from actions back then later
came back to bite taxpayers at a much higher cost.
Parnell must step up and offer
more than sound-bites.
The motor fuel tax is imposed
on all motor fuel sold, transferred or used within Alaska. Per
gallon rates are eight cents for highway use, five cents for
marine fuel, 4.7 cents for aviation gasoline, 3.2 cents for jet
fuel, and eight cents or two cents for gasohol, depending on
the season, location and EPA mandate. Motor fuel taxes are collected
primarily from wholesalers and distributors licensed as qualified
dealers. Various uses of fuel are exempt from tax, including
fuel for heating or flights to or from a foreign country. All
revenue derived from motor fuel taxes is deposited in the state
Federal excise taxes are 18.4 cents per gallon for gasoline and
24.4 cents for diesel.
Legislative Council Chair Rep.
John Harris, R-Valdez, represents House District 12, which stretches
from Palmer to Glennallen to Valdez and up to Delta Junction
Received September 01, 2009
- Published September 03, 2009
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