The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Local Politics

June 28, 2014

Ken de la Bastide: State changing gas tax, Feds asked to consider

Most Americans travel daily in a vehicle that runs on gasoline, and every fluctuating cost affects the amount of discretionary dollars a person and family has to spend.

Starting next week, there will be a change in how Indiana adds a tax to the price of gasoline, which could mean higher prices at the pump. No one really believes it will lower the costs.

On July 1, Indiana will no longer collect the 7 percent sales tax on a gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel. With current prices in Madison County hovering around the $3.70 per gallon mark, the sales tax is around 26 cents per gallon in addition to the 18-cent flat tax.

Instead, Indiana will be charging a use tax, which is expected to start at 22.9 cents per gallon and will change monthly.

At the same time, Sen. Tom Carper, D-Delaware, is proposing an increase in the federal gasoline tax to help pay for the nation’s highway infrastructure.

Carper wants the federal tax to increase by 12 cents per gallon over the next three years and then increase based on the inflation rate.

If approved by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama, the federal fuel tax will climb from the current 18.4 cents to 30.3 cents a gallon by the end of 2017.

The impact will be felt the most by individuals and families in the low- and fixed-income brackets with fewer discretionary dollars to spend. Those driving Hummers and expensive foreign and domestic cars and SUVs will just keep on driving.

Raising funds

Despite an ongoing investigation by the Indiana State Police, Elwood Mayor Ron Arnold continues to accept campaign cash donations.

The ISP investigation is looking at Arnold’s use of campaign funds for personal expenditures, including hotels and cellular telephone service.

At the end of 2013, Arnold’s campaign committee reported a cash balance of $67.70 and a $1,100 debt. The campaign spent $15,665 in 2013, a non-election year.

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