HB 2166 is an effort by lawmakers to empower the head of the state Department of Transportation to impose a charge on all vehicles to raise enough money to fund the Highway Patrol. This is one of several proposals to get around raising the state gasoline tax which has not be raised since 1991. A companion proposal, HB 2165 would allow county supervisors to ask county voters to levy a 1 percent tax for local "needs."
Bob Karp on increases of vehicle (registration) fees and gasoline sales tax: Yes, the state needs to invest in its highways, roads, bridges and transportation infrastructure. Long-term funding for infrastructure and public education should be our top priority in order for businesses to come to Arizona and expand operations. Business investment will create a stable, diverse economy that will provide quality jobs and pay that benefits all of us.
While I'm open to both increases in vehicle registration fees and gas taxes, I'm not ready to sign on just yet. I want assurances that a future legislature will not "hijack" these funds and put them in the state general fund in order to balance the budget while they give tax breaks to business and wealthy individuals as has been done in the past. I have the same concern with an increase of a state-wide sales tax to fund education. I also believe that the state should have funded the highway patrol from general fund allocations rather than create a new revenue stream just to solve a problem created by a failure of past budget priorities.
Passing the pain of tax increases down to county elected officials and voters is another strategy of state government that has to stop. If elected, I would demand any authorizing legislation for vehicle or tax increases include language that guarantees these funds for the purpose indicated.