Committee balks at roads tax increase

Simmons introduced a proposal Tuesday to add an 8-percent sales tax on gasoline and diesel, increase the cost of car tags with varying user fees and require counties to raise taxes in order to share the money that would be generated to fix the state’s ailing roads and bridges. At current prices, it would raise the cost of gasoline 12 cents a gallon at the pump and increase car tags for passenger cars by $6. Simmons had introduced and explained his bill to his committee on Monday and planned to bring it up for a vote but said he decided against this because support appeared to be lacking in both the Senate and House.

Senate Transportation instead passed a placeholder bill that, if passed by the full Senate by Thursday, would allow lawmakers to raise taxes for roads and bridges in the final weeks of the session.