April 20, 2013

Vermont lawmakers debate fuel tax increase proposals

- The Associated Press

MONTPELIER, Vt. - The Vermont Senate on Friday pulled back somewhat on a gasoline tax increase passed by the House, but has made up for that by increasing the diesel tax. In an unusual move, the Senate gave its version of a transportation budget bill preliminary and final approval on the same day. Lawmakers said quick action was required because part of the gas tax increase is to take effect in just 11 days.

The House passed a slightly larger gasoline tax increase than the Senate did, and no diesel tax increase. House Transportation Committee Chairman Patrick Brennan said he hoped the two chambers could concur after informal negotiations and not have to go to a conference committee to work out the differences between the two versions. Lawmakers supporting the increases said they were needed in part so the state could raise matching funds for federal money that otherwise would be lost to Vermont.

But critics said the gasoline tax is regressive -- the lower someone's income is, the higher a share of it such a tax consumes.

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