New Mexico Senate Committee is pushing fuel tax hike

7 hours ago

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The Senate Tax, Business, and Transportation Committee on Saturday approved a bill designed to create new funding for the damaged freeways and roads in New Mexico.

Senate Bill 168 would raise gasoline excise tax from 17 cents to 22 cents a gallon, and the additional contributions would raise over $ 63 million annually once fully in place by 2025, mostly for the state road fund, according to a legislative analysis.

The bill was passed 7-4, with the support of the committee's Democrats and opposition from four Republicans.

"We don't have a single lawmaker who doesn't say there are needs in their area. We even go to extremes on school buses unable to cross bridges due to delays in maintenance," said Senator Bobby J. Gonzales, a Democrat from Ranchos de Taos, who sponsors the legislation, during the committee meeting, "Everyone is going to spend a lot more on Starbucks coffee than they do here."

The bill would also increase the special fuel excise tax from 21 cents to 26 cents per gallon.

At 22 cents per gallon, the standard gas tax would still be more than 14 cents below the national average. New Mexico lawmakers have cut the tax twice since it was last increased in 1993.

Only Mississippi, Missouri, and Alaska have lower gas taxes. The proposed increase would bring New Mexico's rate over seven states and match Colorado's.

"This is really necessary," said Senator Bill Tallman, an Albuquerque Democrat who is the law's other co-sponsor. “People say low taxes attract companies. That is not true. Companies are looking for quality of life. That is not cheap. Good roads and good schools cost money. "

Before you go to the Senate to vote, the law must go through the finance committee, although no hearing is planned.