In spite of skyrocketing fuel prices efforts are underway to gain approval for increased taxes to be charged on fuel. Beyond the desire to increase the tax rate on fuel in Nevada, various champions of higher fuel tax also want to see the practice of indexing to be applied on a statewide basis. Currently Washoe and Clark counties have their own indexing systems in place, automatically charging increased fuel taxes on an annual basis, based on inflation factors. Those who are in charge of determining road construction and maintenance, as well as those who get paid to build or repair roads strongly support both an increase in the tax load as well as instituting the automatic statewide increases in fuel taxes to dig deeper into Nevadan’s pocketbooks through inflation-based indexing. There are also interests which are pleased to see carbon-based fuel prices to soar in hopes that this will inspire the change to non-fossil fuel options.
Behind the project to increase fuel tax revenue is the $500 million shortfall in the state fund for road construction and maintenance. The motivation for finding options to close this gap translated into legislation in the last Nevada Legislature to form a working group, assigned the responsibility of coming up with revenue boosting ideas. The working group was also given the job of researching possible alternatives for creating a tax system to deal with vehicles which don’t require gas or diesel fuel.
The policy-oriented Nevada Policy Research Institute published this piece highlighting the present situation on a statewide basis. In Washoe County the combined tax rate for federal, state and local fuel taxes is over 93-cents per gallon on gasoline.
Final proposals are still being worked out by the working group with the intention of this report going to Nevada legislators in the 2023 session. This group will next meet in mid-September to discuss the plans for the set of recommendations to go before lawmakers.
Given the opportunity that voters will have to determine who will be representing them in that legislative session, it would seem that candidates should be asked where they stand on the questions associated with increased taxes on top of the prices already charged at the pump.