Proposed fuel tax increase in Delaware faces criticism

A bill has been introduced to raise the state’s fuel taxes and the bill’s sponsor said it will stimulate job growth while tackling needed construction projects in the state.

Senator Robert Marshall (D-Wilmington West) is sponsoring the measure, which would raise gas taxes by 10 cents a gallon. The money would help create the Delaware Works Trust Fund, which Marshall said would kick start a five-year, statewide building program.

“The Delaware works trust fund created in Senate Bill 132 will create enormous job opportunities in construction and in the public works by [building] schools, buildings, bridges, in Delaware that we desperately need,” said Marshall. “There are 32,000 Delawareans unemployed and they’re unable to find employment. We had half that number before the recent recession so the blue collar sector, construction, trades, are adversely impacted more than any other group.”

Local governments as well as non-profit community-based organizations could also access the money through a dollar-matching program.

Earlier this week it was reported that Governor Jack Markell suggested numerous new tax and fee increase ideas from increasing the price of tolls and car tags to a 5-cent increase on fuel tax.

Not everyone is thrilled with the idea of tax increases. Senator Colin Bonini  (R-Dover South) said now is not an appropriate time to raise taxes.

“My take has been and continues to be, that Delaware does not have a revenue problem, Delaware has a spending problem,” said Bonini. “We are one of the most expensive states per capita in the entire country, we bring in billions of dollars in revenue and whatever projects, and I think they’re well intended, I think the governor is trying to do the right thing, but whatever he thinks we need to do, we already have the revenue to do it. We do not need to be raising taxes, especially when we have one of the poorest performing economies in the country and laying even more of a tax burden on this poor performing economy is a very bad idea.”  

He added that many of his republican colleagues share a similar feeling.

The News Journal is reporting through delawareonline.com that evern Governor Jack Markell doen’t hold out much hope that any kind of fuel tax hike would make through by the end of the legislative session. Supporters of the measure have until June 30th to take action. 

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