By Scott Buttram, publisher
TRUSSVILLE — Trussville lawmakers are split on Governor Kay Ivey’s proposed 10 cent gas tax increase. The bill is expected to be voted on by the Alabama House of Representatives on Friday and one local lawmaker says the votes are there for passage.
Representative Danny Garrett will vote yes on the proposal, while State Senator Shay Shelnutt plans to vote no if the measure reaches the Senate.
“This is the governor’s top priority,” Garrett said. “It has the votes to pass. But we’re not going to take this up until we pass the accountability portion for ALDOT. We’re going to pass a strong accountability bill. I’ve voted against the gas tax twice in the past, it looks like it will pass this time. I’m doing what I can to improve the bill and strengthen accountability.”
Garrett said he will focus keeping the needs of the local district at the forefront.
“I want to make our district needs top priority,” Garrett said. “I’ll work for budget and tax reforms and continue to reduce earmarks.”
Garrett said House members were concerned about $63 million currently diverted from the existing gas tax and used for public safety. He said House members have taken that concern to the governor.
“She agreed to return half of money to road fund and has committed to looking at the other half in the near future,” Garrett said.
The feedback from local leadership and voters on the proposed tax increase has been about 50/50, according to Garrett.
“City leadership and majority of constituents realize we have an issue we have to address with congestion and safety issues,” Garrett said. “Nobody is excited about a tax increase. The simple answer would be to move money to roads, but we can’t because of earmarks. I’d like to get some tax cuts to offset, but we’re not going to be able to do it in this bill. Once she (Ivey) called a special session, the legislature has to respond. The reality is we can only deal with this topic.”