Iowan’s will pay more at the pump

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Update:

Governor Branstad has now signed the bill into law. The bill is expected to go into effect on Sunday, March 1st.

Original post:

Iowan’s will soon be paying more at the pump after both chambers of the legislature passed the 10 cent per gallon gas tax increase. The senate voted 28-21 in favor of the measure. Local democratic Representatives Mary Gaskill and Curt Hanson both voted against the bill when it was in the House of representatives, Republican Senator Ken Rozenboom from Oskaloosa voted for the tax increase, and Senator Mark Chelgren was absent from the senate Monday.

Representative Mary Gaskill from Ottumwa says that she voted against the final draft of the bill because she felt it would harm low income Iowans. She says that she offered an amendment to raise the earned income tax credit to help low income Iowans, but the amendment was rejected.

Senator Rozenboom told us that it was time to raise the gas tax to keep pace with the higher cost of road construction. “Theres not been a raise in the gas tax rate for 26 years, the bottom line is that means we are trying to maintain roads with 1989 dollars. That formula just did not adjust for inflation”

The senator told us that while Iowan’s should start to see better roads in the future, the cost to the average Iowan should be minimal. “I believe if the average motorist drives 15,000 miles per year, and gets 25 miles per gallon, I believe that number is $60 per year.”

Governor Brandstad has shown support for an increase to the gas tax and is expected to sign the legislation into law.

We were unsuccessful in our attempts to reach Senator Chelgren.