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House Transportation Bill Contained Too Great a Sacrifice, Pickett Says
11/26/2013
HARRISBURG – Rep. Tina Pickett (R-Bradford/Sullivan/Susquehanna) today explained why she cast a “no” vote on House Bill 1060, legislation that seeks to spend $2.3 billion for transportation through higher taxes and fees.

“Although I greatly understand the need to repair our structurally deficient bridges and adequately maintain our large share of roads and highways, the proposals before us represented too great of a sacrifice from our community in order to earn my support,” Pickett said.

She explained that Pennsylvania currently spends $6.8 billion for transportation, in both state and federal tax dollars, of which approximately $4 billion is specifically spent on roads and bridges. The bill that ultimately passed calls for another $2.3 billion in additional transportation funds each year, and relies primarily on the uncapping of the Oil Company Franchise Tax (OCFT), which is a fee paid by the oil companies. The increased revenue from that tax is expected to be passed along at the pump. Under the legislation, the 12-cent flat tax per gallon will be eliminated, and is being replaced by a change in the OCFT millage. Overall, the 12 cents will still be there, in addition to the increase from the cap being lifted.

A current state-by-state comparison compiled by the American Petroleum Institute (API) shows that the highest-taxed gasoline is sold in the state of New York with a total of 75.2 cents of taxes on each gallon of gas. The national average, according to API, is about 49 cents. The Pennsylvania gasoline tax would be more than twice that of many states since the OCFT, according to API, and like other taxes, gets passed down to the consumer.

The current state gas tax load is 32 cents per gallon, 15th highest in the nation, according to the Pennsylvania Highway Information Association. The increased taxes could now make the Commonwealth the highest in terms of both gas and diesel taxes in the nation. The Tax Foundation has Pennsylvania ranked 15th out of 50 states for highest taxes overall.

“Simply, I don’t believe that type of increase is the best solution to address our infrastructure needs,” Pickett said. “This tax will not only be borne by every driver who fills up the tank, but will surely result in higher costs for goods and services all around, and will impact both small businesses and consumers. In addition, fees are expected to increase for vehicle registrations, driver’s license and renewals and vehicle titles. In fact, more than 100 different fees are expected to increase as a result.

“As rural residents, we need roads and bridges to be maintained and to be safe. However, the magnitude of this tax increase is unreasonable for our working families and senior citizens,” she added.

The legislation was so controversial that it took four votes to get it out of our chamber, and each time, she cast a resounding “no” on the bill.

The legislation was, however, signed into law on Nov. 25. 
 
Representative Tina Pickett
110th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Jennifer Keaton
(717) 705-2094
jkeaton@pahousegop.com  
RepPickett.com / Facebook.com/RepPickett
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