Gas Tax Increase– Will the Senate Defeat it Again?

During the 2019 Legislative Session, the North Dakota Senate surprised many of us when they killed a bill that proposed raising the Motor Fuel Tax. That proposal is in front of them again this session. Will we see a repeat?

The reason many of us were surprised in 2019 is because the Senate has a reputation for being far less conservative than the chamber across the hall— the House. Yet, the House passed House Bill 1464 last month by a wide margin of 62 – 32.

As currently amended, if passed, HB 1464 would raise the Motor Fuel Tax from $0.23/gallon to $0.26/gallon. The argument is that we’re way past due for an increase in this “fee”. What’s often lost in the discussion though is that North Dakota is among the leaders nationwide in taxes collected. In other words, we have plenty of resources. Should we really be raising taxes, even if it is a “fee”?

Last session, Senator Jordan Kannianen (R – District 4) rightfully pointed out in floor debate that even without raising the tax, North Dakota’s roads had improved over 10 years from 22% being rated poor or very poor to just 10% of them being rated as such.

What seems to have drawn the most opposition this time around though, in committee hearings, is the hike in fees related to electric vehicles that’s found in the bill. Advocates of “EV’s” expressed concern that the increases weren’t fair.

It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out. It came out of committee yesterday with a 4-3 Do Not Pass and is now on the calendar for approval of amendments.

My bet is that, in spite of the committee’s recommendation, it will pass. There’s tremendous pressure to raise the Motor Fuel Tax. I hope that I’m wrong. It would be nice to see the Senate do the right thing— again.



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About T. Arthur Mason 874 Articles
T. Arthur Mason is a native North Dakotan who has spent nearly all of his life in the Peace Garden State. As the third of four children in Western North Dakota, Mason grew to appreciate family and the outdoors. Some of his fondest memories are annual deer hunts with family and friends. In his early teenage years, faith became a central part of T. Arthur Mason's life. He and the majority of his family attend church together on a weekly basis and find this a fulfilling aspect of their lives. Through the influence of his father, T. Arthur Mason became intrigued with politics. As a boy, he attended political events with his father and enjoyed the friendships that resulted as a byproduct of those political associations. As Mason grew older, he became convinced that the quote often attributed to Thomas Jefferson was true, "That government is best which governs least." Today, T. Arthur Mason enjoys time with his wife and children, an occasional hunt, and an increasingly active life on the political scene. This blog is the fulfillment of a dream to design a web site in the realm of politics and to advocate for the principles of Liberty and constitutionally limited government. On behalf of all those that contribute to The Minuteman, we hope you enjoy your time on the site and will share the message with others.