A lowering of gasoline prices during May has provided a welcome reprieve for North Carolina motorists from the budget-busting pump prices that hovered near the $4-per-gallon mark for most of this year. Some legislative leaders in Raleigh seek to gain political mileage from capping the state gas tax, an election-year idea that should be approached with caution.
A report published earlier this month by the NC Budget & Tax Center, a non-partisan project of the North Carolina Justice Center, spells out a compelling argument against the notion of capping the state’s overall gas tax. Doing so, the report argues, would prevent revenues from adjusting to rising construction costs and further hinder the state’s ability to maintain its transportation system.
At 38.9 cents per gallon, North Carolina’s gas tax is one of the highest in the nation. The tax has two components — a flat tax of 17.5 cents and a variable portion adjusted at six-month intervals to equal 7 percent of the average wholesale price of gasoline.
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