Arizona Lawmakers' Plan To Double Gas Tax Hitting Dead End

By Holliday Moore
Howard Fischer
Published: Friday, February 28, 2020 - 9:09am
Howard Fischer/Capitol Media Services
Noel Campbell

An Arizona lawmaker hoping to double the state's gas tax has met resistance from his Republican colleagues.

Several tax-averse House members on Thursday voiced opposition to Republican Rep. Noel Campbell's proposal to increase the tax drivers pay at the pump to 36 cents a gallon.

The bill has support from 29 Democrats but only two fellow Republicans: House Speaker Rusty Bowers and Bob Thorpe. Although that provides a slim majority, it falls well short of the two-thirds vote required for any tax increase.

Frustrated, Campbell sharply criticized his colleagues who could not see the need for a tax increase to fund road construction and maintenance throughout the state.

"What we lack in this body is political will," he lashed out. "What did we come down here for, to just keep getting elected? That's all we do is get elected and do nothing? I don't agree with that."

He quickly apologized after several Republicans took issue, including Rep. John Allen, R-Scottsdale.

"I disagree with the sponsor on this bill,'' Allen said. "But that does not make me only somehow only interested in my own interest, not that of the public.''

Nevertheless, Thorpe pointed out lawmakers created the problem decades ago by passing a flat gas tax with no inflation indexing. Had there been one, he explained, motorists would already be paying 35 cents a gallon at the pump and there'd be no need to raise the tax now.

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