Update: Governor Terry Branstad has signed the bill into law. Iowans can expect a 10 cent jump at the pumps on Sunday.
Yesterday the Iowa Legislature passed an increase in Iowa’s gas tax which includes a 10 cent increase for the excise tax on motor fuel that increased the tax by 40%.
This was colossally stupid, but it was bipartisan stupidity. All amendments and alternatives to for funding our transportation infrastructure were ignored, and the simple fact is that this will not solve the funding issue for our roads and bridges in the future. Watch for the same players come back to Iowans with hat in hand in a few years.
The Iowa Senate voted for the increase first 28 to 21. 16 of 26 Democrats and 12 of 23 Republicans voted for the gas tax increase. The Iowa House voted for the increase next and it passed 53 to 46. In the House, 23 of 43 Democrats and 30 of 56 Republicans supported the proposal.
Those Republicans voting in favor of the gas tax increase include Speaker of the House Kraig Paulsen (R-Hiawatha), Majority Leader Linda Upmeyer (R-Clear Lake) and Senate Minority Leader Bill Dix (R-Shell Rock).
Lest we not forget, here is what Speaker Paulsen said after delivering “property tax relief” (something I have yet to see), “House Republicans will continue to work to find ways to take less money from Iowa taxpayers and return more to their pockets all while following through on the budget promises we’ve already made.”
I guess he forgot that pledge when he shuffled the House Ways and Means committee around to get the increase passed out of committee and when he voted for it yesterday.
Senate Minority Leader Bill Dix’s vote in favor and lack of leadership on this issue is perplexing. Craig Robinson made the following observation this morning, and I couldn’t agree more:
Eleven Senate Republicans voted against the gas tax increase on Tuesday. Four of the 11 are not up for re-election in 2016, while the other six are. The six others who voted no on the gas tax increase all come from heavily Republican districts.
Three first term Republicans, Senators Mark Segebart, Mike Breitback, and Dan Zumback each voted for the tax increase. The districts they represent have a Republican voter registration advantage, but the areas that they represent have caused problems for Republicans in the past. This vote, combined with a presidential election year, could put them at risk, especially if Republicans back home are the least bit upset with them.
When you are the MINORITY leader in the Iowa Senate, you really only have one job – winning the majority. Dix and Senate Republicans needed to force Senate Democrats to pass the tax increase. Instead, so many Republicans voted in favor of it, it allowed Democrats in Republican leaning districts the ability to vote no.
For years now Republicans have proven to be their own worst enemies when it comes to the Iowa Senate. They’ve been just two seats short of a majority now for four years. They needed to force someone like Brase, Mathis, Schoenjahn, Sodders, or Wilhelm to vote for a tax increase. Instead, Republicans let their Democrat counterparts off the hook.
Here are Representatives who voted in favor of the gas tax increase: Abdul-Samad, Anderson, Bacon, Baudler, Berry, Best, Branhagen, Byrnes, Carlson, Cohoon, Deyoe, Dolecheck, Drake, Forbes, Forristall, Gassman, Hanusa, Heaton, Heddens, Hein, Hunter, Huseman, Jacoby, Jones, Kaufmann, Kearns, Lensing, Lykam, Mascher, Maxwell, Meyer, H. Miller, L. Miller, Mommsen, Moore, Oldson, Olson, Pettengill, Sexton, Sieck, Smith, Stanerson, Steckman, Stutsman, T. Taylor, Upmeyer, Wessel-Kroeschell, Wills, Winckler, Windschitl, Wolfe, Worthan and Paulsen
The Representatives who voted against the gas tax increase were: Baxter, Bearinger, Bennett, Brown-Powers, Cownie, Dawson, Dunkel, Finkenauer, Fisher, Fry, Gaines, Gaskill, Grassley, Gustafson, Hagenow, Hall, Hanson, Heartsill, Highfill, Holt, Isenhart, Jorgensen, Kelley, Klein, Koester, Kooiker, Kressig, Landon, McConkey, Nunn, Ourth, Paustian, Prichard, Rizer, Rogers, Ruff, Running-Marquardt, Salmon, Sands, Sheets, Soderberg, Staed, R. Taylor, Thede, Vander Linden, and Watts.
State Representative Chip Baltimore (R-Boone) abstained saying he was not going to dignify the bill or the process that brought it to the House floor with a vote.
In the Senate, here are the State Senators who voted for the gas tax increase: Anderson, Dearden, Horn, Petersen, Bertrand, Dix, Jochum, Quirmbach, Bolkcom, Dotzler, Johnson, Ragan, Bowman, Dvorsky, Kapucian, Rozenboom, Breitbach, Gronstal, Kinney, Segebart, Costello, Hart, Kraayenbrink, Shipley, Danielson, Hogg, McCoy, and Zumbach.
Here are the State Senators who voted no: Allen, Feenstra, Schultz, Whitver, Behn, Garrett, Seng, Wilhelm, Bisignano, Guth, Sinclair, Zaun, Brase, Mathis, Smith, Chapman, Schneider, Sodders, Courtney, Schoenjahn, and Taylor.
State Senator Mark Chelgren abstained or was absent for the vote.