Friday, April 24, 2020

Balance in transportation funding

I saw this opinion in the Desert News today.

Some background
Utah uses 2 main ways to fund transportation. The gas tax and Transportation related sales tax, including sales tax on new cars, tires, etc. The 2nd method is not direct, it is through an earmark on sales tax roughly based on 17% of sales tax being transportation related.

In the now repealed 2019 SB 2001 which was the bill we ran the referendum petitions against, the 4th item of concern was removing transportation related sales tax from funding transportation so the Legislature could use the $600 Million somewhere else. It is also why they were taking $680 Million out of the education fund with SB 2001 which was the 3rd issue we had with the bill.

All of this is based on the same section of the Utah Constitution, with the education part of it being proposed to be amended by voters this fall.

Article XIII, Section 5
(5) All revenue from taxes on intangible property or from a tax on income shall be used to support the systems of public education and higher education as defined in Article X, Section 2.
(6) Proceeds from fees, taxes, and other charges related to the operation of motor vehicles on public highways and proceeds from an excise tax on liquid motor fuel used to propel those motor vehicles shall be used for:
(a) statutory refunds and adjustments and costs of collection and administration;
(b) the construction, maintenance, and repair of State and local roads, including payment for property taken for or damaged by rights-of-way and for associated administrative costs;
(c) driver education;
(d) enforcement of state motor vehicle and traffic laws; and
(e) the payment of the principal of and interest on any obligation of the State or a city or county, issued for any of the purposes set forth in Subsection (6)(b) and to which any of the fees, taxes, or other charges described in this Subsection (6) have been pledged, including any paid to the State or a city or county, as provided by statute.

This opinion in the Desert News is trying to take transportation funding the other direction. We need balance. This isn't it.