Saturday, September 23, 2023

Transportation Committee Passes Bill to Tweak Tax Code

The Senate’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee passed a bill Monday afternoon that would tweak state tax code to bring an additional $15-$25 million per year to the Division of Highways.

Currently, the Division of Highways doesn’t pay sales tax, however road construction and maintenance materials are taxed, so when the DOH pays contractors for work, it’s currently paying taxes built into those contract costs.

Currently that money goes into the general revenue fund. This bill, Senate Bill 7, would simply take that money and reimburse it back to the state road fund.

Committee counsel noted that this reimbursement program was in place from 2007-2018, but was ended by legislation that year.

Transportation Secretary Jimmy Wriston told the committee he believes the program was halted to deal with a budget crunch at the time, but now believes the state is in position to restore it, hopefully permanently.

“This bill simply returns money generated by road and bridge construction to the the state Road Fund in order to continue to produce more and more road construction and bridge construction,” Wriston said.

Wriston assured the committee that the DOH built this bill into its budget request and the impact on the general revenue fund should be accounted for in the governor’s fiscal year 2024 budget, currently being considered by the Legislature.

The legislation now moves on for consideration in Senate Finance.


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