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One of Gov. Kay Ivey's signature accomplishments of her last term was the Rebuild Alabama Act of 2019. While the law created a new funding mechanism for road and bridge improvements, it also increased the state fuel tax and included a mechanism for automatic fuel tax increases.
When Ivey ran in 2018 as the incumbent, she did not discuss the possibility of a fuel tax increase while on the campaign trail. However, after securing the Republican nomination, she easily defeated Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox in the general election.
Ivey and the legislative leadership then immediately worked toward a fuel tax increase, part of the Rebuild Alabama Act that was passed during a special session called by the governor in the very early stages of the first regular session of the quadrennium.
Lew Burdette, one of Ivey's opponents in the 2022 Republican primary, criticized the governor for not making her position on a fuel tax increase known during the 2018 campaign cycle.
He pledged that he would roll back the fuel tax and Alabama's grocery tax if he were elected.
"You know, Jeff, you've heard me -- how disappointed I am that when we have the supermajority of Republicans, quote, 'Republicans,' and there is a lot of frustration across this state -- when we talk about having the supermajority but we don't ever have less taxes and less government," Burdette said. "There's not any of us who don't want better roads and better bridges. But when we don't plan right and we don't have the right kind of vision, the right kind of leadership, and we find that our roads and bridges aren't where we want them to be, then Montgomery's only solution is, 'Let's just tax everybody more,' and that's wrong.
"You know, the governor should have debated that in 2018. It should have been part of her platform instead of sneaking it in when she was first elected in 2019. That was wrong. I want to give that money back. I want to roll back the gas tax. I want to roll back the grocery tax and put more money in this inflationary period and what we're about to see in recessionary times -- put that money back in the pockets of all Alabamians to help all Alabamians, and then have commonsense business solutions to approach what's the right way to pave our roads and have better roads and bridges."
To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email jeff.poor@1819News.com.
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