Culver promises to veto gas tax hike

Democratic legislators have planned to move forward with a bill that would raise the state gas tax, but Governor Chet Culver made a declaration today that should put that bill in park.


DES MOINES – Governor Chet Culver made a statement today saying he would veto any legislation that raises the gas tax in Iowa. The House and Senate Transportation Committees may bring up the issue early next week.


“I have been clear and consistent in my opposition to an increase in the gas tax, but let me leave no doubt: I will veto any increase in the gas tax. We have many important issues to address this year, including creating new jobs, but raising taxes on hard-working Iowans is not one of them.

“In the midst of an economic recession, the worst since the Great Depression, we need to create jobs, not take money out of people’s pockets at a time when so many are facing financial challenges. Unemployment is at a 25-year high in our nation, and more than 70,000 Iowans are on unemployment insurance, nearly twice as many people as a year ago. And 82 of our 99 counties have higher unemployment today than at this time last year.

“The fact is we have better alternatives when it comes to improving Iowa’s roads and bridges than making Iowans pay more money at the pump. President Obama’s federal recovery plan provides Iowa with over $350 million for transportation. And my own jobs and infrastructure proposal will include another $250 million for transportation, especially for road safety and deficient bridges.

“These two better options mean more than $600 million to create jobs and improve our infrastructure, without raising taxes on Iowans.

“I will not sign an increase in the gas tax, I will not make Iowans pay higher taxes, and I want legislators to know this before spending time on an issue when we have more pressing concerns.”


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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.