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Who Should Act First on the Kentucky Gas Tax Bill? Kentucky Legislative Leadership Disagrees.

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With days left in the 2015 legislative session, state lawmakers haven’t moved on a bill to stabilize fuel taxes that have plummeted due to low gas prices.

The fuel tax accounts for more than half of revenue that goes into the state’s road fund, which pays for highway and bridge construction and repair in the state.

“That’s a critical issue, especially now with Mother Nature,” said Senate President Robert Stivers, referring to the damage weather’s can do to roads.

Taxes and fees going into the state’s road fund were only $112.8 million in February, a 9.1 percent drop from$124 million in February 2014.

The Office of the State Budget Director estimates revenue for the fund will be down .9 percent for the year.

Leadership in both houses have said something needs to be done with the fuel tax, but Stivers and House Speaker Greg Stumbo have remained noncommittal about legislation passing this session.

“There’s a possibility. There’s discussions going on about the bill,” Stivers said on Tuesday.

Stivers also said that any bill dealing with the tax would have to start in the House because legislation that deals with the budget has to start in that chamber.

Stumbo said he’s been waiting for the Senate to move on a bill in their chamber that would set a “floor” for the motor fuel tax. Under the bill, the minimum price used to compute the gas tax would be $2.354 per gallon. Currently the gas tax rate is recomputed every three months, based on the average price of gas.

Stumbo said a court ruling established precedent for budgetary bills being able to originate in the Senate.

“We’ll wait and see what the Senate’s going to do,” Stumbo said.

Stivers disagreed.

Ryland Barton is the Managing Editor for Collaboratives. Email Ryland at rbarton@lpm.org.