Proposed gas tax bill could cause higher gas prices

By Christel Phillips- email

Lufkin, TX (KTRE)- With gas prices rising, East Texans are not pumped on the idea of taxes going up too.

One driver said, "I hate it but I have to buy it." Another East Texas driver said, "I'm not for gas getting any higher."

But the push in Legislature, is to allow counties to raise taxes to fund transportation projects.

Texas House Representative Jim McReynolds explains, "Senate Bill 855 signed by John Carona was designed to help various counties primarily metro counties raise money for infrastructure."

A simplified version of the bill emerged Tuesday, that would let counties in 85 percent of the state, call elections, asking voters for a one-time, 10-cent a-gallon tax increase.

The gas tax bill would work like this, you could fill up your tank in Lufkin, drive to maybe Dallas or Houston, and when you make it could pay more in gas taxes and not even know it, because the taxes would vary from county to county.

Either way, taxpayers feel the increase is not needed right now.

An east Texas driver told us, "I don't think they should do it. I think that if gas prices were down, like they were, I don't think it would be a problem, but with the way they're going back up, I don't think they should add anymore to it."

And East Texas lawmakers agree. McReynolds says, "I have gotten emails, and phone calls from constituents regarding this particular piece of legislation, and all of them have been negative, and I'm personally negative on this as well."

One reason they stand against it, is because they feel it's not a good time. McReynolds adds, "Raising taxes in a time when the economy is no good is a bad idea, and secondly I suspect that the Governor would veto a piece of legislation like that."

And even though the bill has cleared Senate, McReynolds feels that's as far as it will go. "I just don't think this will pass."

That's what many East Texans are hoping for, because they feel gas prices are already getting to high.

If it passes legislature, voters would see it on the ballot come november.

But if House leaders don't put the bill on the calendar, which consist of new bills that are up for consideration by the house, by Thursday of this week, it's very likely the bill will die.