It is now easy to understand why Governor Terry Branstad said the timing was right for a gas tax increase. It’s easier to accomplish when the Speaker of the House is willing to take extraordinary steps to push the bill forward.
HSB 129 passed in the Iowa House Transportation Committee yesterday. It now goes to the House Ways and Means Committee as HF 351 where apparently it did not have enough votes to pass. If passed it would increase our excise fuel tax for motor fuel by 10 cents.
To ensure its passage Speaker Kraig Paulsen (R-Hiawatha) took the unusual step of replacing a solid no vote on the committee – State Representative Jake Highfill (R-Johnston) – with supposedly a yes vote – State Representative Brian Moore (R-Bellevue).
The committee will discuss the bill at 2:00p in room 102 today.
Related news rumor has it that Iowa House Democrats may block the gas tax increase working with Republicans who plan to vote no. I can just see the headline now. Iowa House Democrats block Republicans from raising taxes.
Oh the irony.
Update: I’ve now heard that State Representative Zach Nunn (R-Altoona) has been removed from the committee. I’ll let you know when that has been verified. Just to let you know how unusual this is – Speaker Paulsen wouldn’t move members out of a committee to pass prolife legislation, but he does it to pass a gas tax increase.
2nd Update: Verified, the Iowa Legislature’s website has now been updated.
3rd Update: Guess who is replacing Nunn? Why Paulsen of course! This is absolutely unheard of.