Proposed Del. Gas Tax Would Increase With Inflation - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Proposed Del. Gas Tax Would Increase With Inflation

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REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. - Gov. Jack Markell wants to raise Delaware's gas taxes an additional 10 cents per gallon.

Tax increases are often hard enough to pass. What makes this more challenging, though, is that the governor's plan includes automatic increases to keep pace with inflation, or an escalator clause. In other words, he wouldn't have to go back to the legislature to ask for further tax increases; those increases would automatically be triggered when other prices go up as well.

Lawmakers, like House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf, are worried this will make the bill a harder sell. Republicans are all against the bill already. Schwartzkopf said the escalator clause caught people by surprise because it was separated from the original proposal.

Markell plans to use the revenue from the taxes to fund transportation projects such as fixing Route 9 in Lewes and Schwartkopf's Route 1 Pedestrian Safety project.

However, some residents think the funds should come from somewhere else, not raising gas prices.

"Delaware's known to be tax-free," Lewes resident Julie Hudson said. "We start adding all these taxes what's the motivation for people to start businesses here, or move here, anything, I don't think it's positive."

Others, like JC Hricisak, agree the state needs the revenue but thinks the bill should not have the escalator clause, just the 10 cent increase.

"I wouldn't say to keep it for 20, 30 years," he said. "Keep it until all the roads do go ahead and get fixed then go ahead possibly five years down the road when the roads start to deteriorate more, maybe implement it again."

Schwartzkopf also said he and other representatives will have the opportunity to rewrite the bill and find a way to make it work. He would like to see the bill pass but is worried this is not the right way to do it.



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