Residents unhappy about gas tax hike

Christopher Stephens | The Herald Bulletin“I am here making lifetime decisions when I have $20 and I am deciding whether just to put in $10 and have $10 for the week,” Leon Dean says as he fills up his gas tank at an Anderson Speedway store on Sunday. The state's gas tax went up 10 cents a gallon on Saturday.

ANDERSON – Madison County residents are grumbling about paying more at the pump after a 10-cent increase in the gas tax went into effect Saturday.

“The amount is really hard on single moms,” said Sara Davis as she was filling up her car at a Ricker's store in Anderson on Sunday. “It’s like every week I am going to be paying an extra $15 to get back and forth to work.”

The Indiana Legislature in April raised the tax on gasoline to 28 cents per gallon to help pay for a $1.2 billion highway improvement plan signed into law in April by Gov. Eric Holcomb.

Though Davis would be happy to see better roads, she said the amount was just too high for low-income residents.

“A couple cents would be OK but the amount is insane,” she added. “Right as we are trying to get back on our feet around here.”

But even as the tax went into effect, average gas prices in Anderson are lower than last week and last month, according to GasBuddy.com, which allows users to input gas prices. The average price in Anderson Sunday afternoon for regular gas was $2.15 per gallon, according to that website.

The increase makes Indiana’s gas tax higher than all other neighboring states, according to taxfoundation.org.

The gas tax is just one effort to help pay for massive infrastructure improvements voted in by lawmakers this year.

Starting in January, Hoosiers will pay more fees at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. Registration fees for most vehicles will rise by $15 and charges include another fee of $50 on hybrids and $150 on electric cars.

Increasing the price of gas makes it hard for Leon Dean, who said he always checks for the cheapest fuel before he fills up.

“I am here making lifetime decisions when I have $20 and I am deciding whether just to put in $10 and have $10 for the week,” Dean said Sunday at an Anderson Speedway station.

Instead of hiking gas prices, Dean argues state lawmakers should find other ways to pay for infrastructure improvements instead of taxing working people.

“We can find another way to fix the roads. We need to do whatever we can to get gas lower,” he said.

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