Rep. Ramsey: Talk of gas tax increase ‘premature’

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‘Someone would have to do a lot of convincing to get me to vote to raise gas taxes’

An item rumored to be coming up for a vote in the Ga. General Assembly is one that would increase the tax on gasoline. Rep. Matt Ramsey (R-Peachtree City) said there is no proposal to increase the tax at this time and questioned if a tax on gasoline is a long-term, viable way to fund transportation in the state.

Ramsey — who serves as the House Majority Whip for legislation being pushed by Gov. Nathan Deal —said a committee to study transportation funding met during the summer and fall. Ramsey said he is not on the transportation committee and is not part of any committee or group studying a potential increase in gas taxes.

“There is no consensus and no proposal at this time,”said Ramsey. “It’s too early to talk about it and I don’t know what legislation might come forward. So it’s premature, regardless of the chatter in the media.”

Asked his opinion on increasing the tax on gasoline from its current 4 cents per gallon, Ramsey said, “Our economy is improving but it’s still fragile and has a way to go. Someone would have to do a lot of convincing to get me to vote to raise gas taxes on Georgia citizens.”

Expanding on the topic, Ramsey said, “I’m not sure the gas tax is a long-term, viable way to fund transportation.”

Ramsey noted that three of the four cents collected on the gas tax goes to transportation while the remaining penny goes into the general fund, adding that money from the general fund also goes to transportation.

Having the remaining penny going to transportation would require a statewide referendum, a measure which Ramsey said he supports.

“I absolutely would support it,” said Ramsey.

Ramsey said that one penny of gas tax equates to $170 million.

Looking beyond the talk of increasing taxes on fuel, other reports have noted the potential for a total of more than $5 billion in new taxes being put before legislators. Ramsey said he had not seen anything about such a proposal or seen a bill suggesting it.

“I don’t think anyone will stand up and recommend $5 billion in new taxes,” Ramsey said.