Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R) said he is considering replacing all or part of the state gas tax with a sales tax on gasoline and alternative vehicle fuel purchases. His remarks were made during a visit with the Wisconsin State Journal October 13.
Wisconsin has a flat state gas tax of 30.9 cents-per-gallon that has not been increased since 2006. Governor Walker said the tax change would be a “neutral conversion” that would result in more stable funding for the state’s transportation infrastructure.[i]
“The gas tax itself — we’re too dependent on primarily that source. Increasingly as cars and vehicles become more fuel efficient (and) the gallons of gas purchased go down, the gas tax collections go down, even though those vehicles put the same wear and tear if not more on the roads out there,” Walker told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. [ii]
Wisconsin is facing a $6.8 billion transportation funding shortfall over the next decade, according to a January 2013 report from the Wisconsin Transportation Finance and Policy Commission. Wisconsin DOT is facing a $680 million shortfall for the department’s 2015-2017 budget.
On November 4, Wisconsin voters will consider a ballot measure to establish a protected state transportation fund. The state would not be able to divert transportation revenues to non-transportation related projects. Governor Walker is also up for re-election next month.
[i] “Gov. Scott Walker floats replacing gas tax to fix transportation shortfall”, Wisconsin State Journal. http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/govt-and-politics/gov-scott-walker-floats-replacing-gas-tax-to-fix-transportation/article_828d9e30-0098-5158-a035-6053559cead1.html
[ii] “Gov. Scott Walker pitches gas tax change for road funds”, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/gov-scott-walker-to-visit-journal-sentinel-edit-board-b99370849z1-279141161.html