The Vermont House Transportation Committee has approved a gasoline tax increase to be phased in over two years.
The committee voted 10 to nothing, with one member absent, to approve a 2-cent sales tax increase on gasoline to take effect in June. The revenues would be used for highway and infrastructure maintenance and improvements. Some business groups are adamantly opposed to the increase. The Vermont chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business says 94 percent of respondents to a survey oppose raising the per-gallon tax. The Vermont Petroleum Association and the Vermont Grocers’ Association have collected more than 10-thousand petition signatures opposing the gasoline tax increase. Joe Choquette is the lobbyist for the Vermont Petroleum Association.
The Black River Quick Stop in Springfield, Vermont is near the New Hampshire border. Owner Peter Annis says when Vermont’s cigarette tax went up a few years ago he lost business to out-of-state competitors, and believes he will lose even more if the gas tax increases.
Small Dog Electronics CEO and Owner Don Mayer says the revenues from an increased gas tax are crucial and is pleased the House committee approved the proposal.
Peter Annis believes Vermont legislators do not need to impose a new tax to find needed revenues.
Under the proposal, the sales tax would go up another 2 cents in July of 2014.
According to the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles, the current gas tax rate is 20-cents per gallon, and the diesel tax is 29 cents per gallon.