How does that idea sound to everyday Arkansans? Well, to put it gently, most think it’s a terrible idea.
From Talk Business:
Half of Arkansans believe the condition of the state’s roads is “a major problem that deserves attention,” but 64% oppose raising motor fuels taxes to address it, according to a poll by Americans for Prosperity. Forty-five percent strongly oppose a motor fuels tax increase, and half said a legislator’s support for an increase would make them less likely to vote for him or her. The group, which supports smaller government and lower taxes, surveyed 500 voters by phone, 30% of those by cell, Sept. 22-24. The poll comes as the Governor’s Working Group on Highway Funding is considering ways to increase funding for highways. Rep. Andy Davis, R-Little Rock, a member of the working group, said, “I don’t think these results would surprise anyone in the General Assembly. Arkansans believe that roads and highways are of tremendous importance, and most agree that our roads are in need of attention. However they also believe that they are paying enough already and that state and local authorities need to do more with what we have.”
As we’ve reported previously, Arkansas already has the highest state gas tax — when compared to surrounding states — of 21.8 cents per gallon. Raising the gas tax even further would just make it even more expensive to drive in Arkansas, as compared to our neighboring states.
More from Talk Business:
David Ray, state director of Americans for Prosperity-Arkansas, pointed to the 45% who strongly oppose a tax increase. “What that tells you is that there’s a lot of intensity beside this issue, and legislators who support a tax increase on gasoline ought to reconsider that idea,” he said.
Ray said money could be found for highways through a variety of mechanisms, including transferring general revenue funds from taxes raised for the sale of transportation-related items. “We have enough revenue being collected in taxes right now. It’s quite possible that not enough of that money is making its way to the highway department, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we need to raise taxes to fix the problem,” he said.
Other state legislatures have cynically used a temporary drop in gas prices to push through major gas tax increases recently. As this poll from AFP shows, if Arkansas legislators try something similar, they’ll be hearing from some angry constituents.
You can read more about AFP’s poll here.