State Sen. Larry Stutts' (R-Tuscumbia) Senate Bill 277 (SB277) probably will not make him popular among some of his colleagues in the Alabama Legislature.
However, given the increase in gas prices over the past several months, it may make him popular with a lot of voters.
Stutts' legislation would eliminate the automatic indexing provision of the 2019 Rebuild Alabama Act, which is set to take effect in October 2023.
Under the 2019 law, Alabama's fuel tax will adjust based on the National Highway Construction Cost Index, and in inflationary environments, it could result in a significant increase at the pump.
During an interview with Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5's "The Jeff Poor Show" on Friday, the Colbert County Republican Senator argued against automatic tax increases.
"I voted against the gas tax when it was originally passed," he said. "There were two reasons, but the main reason I voted against it was the automatic increase. I just felt like that was fundamentally wrong. I understand we need some money for roads and the Rebuild Alabama Act. That's progressed up to 10 cents a gallon. I just felt like then the automatic increase was fundamentally wrong.
"To raise taxes should be painful, deliberate and somebody ought to have to vote on it," Stutts continued. "For it to just automatically increase based on the cost of construction, which we know is going to go up -- you know, because they said then it could go down. Well, we know it is not going to, the way inflation, fuel costs and everything are now. It's not going to go down, so it is an automatic increase, period. And I just felt like that was wrong and this was a good time to correct it, while gas prices were high and inflation is high and people can use some relief. Even though it won't be immediate relief, it will keep it from going up every year from now on."
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