Gas Tax Increase a Political Win for Ivey

Carol M. Highsmith, Library of Congress

It’s been a great week for Gov. Kay Ivey. Her proposed 10-cents-a-gallon gasoline tax increase became law Tuesday. Ivey argued the increase was necessary to fund infrastructure improvements, which she called her top priority for this legislative session.

Lawmakers approved the tax during a special session Ivey called within the regular session. The unusual move took away a procedural hurdle that would have made the tax harder to pass in a regular session. Don Dailey, host of Alabama Public Television’s Capitol Journal, says Ivey’s political victory is notable because she managed to pass the increase in a tax-averse state, and it happened quickly.

“I don’t think Governor Ivey would have called a special session and put herself out on limb like this if she didn’t think she had the votes,” Dailey says. “And indeed she did.”

Dailey says as with any tax, there were detractors. Some accused Republicans who voted for the tax increase of being “fake Republicans” who betrayed their party.  But Dailey doubts Ivey will suffer any significant blowback from using the special session as a tactic to pass the gas tax hike. GOP leaders were supportive of the governor throughout the process.

The measure drew support from Democrats as well. Democratic leaders communicated with Ivey during the special session and House minority leader Anthony Daniels says Ivey promised to work with Democrats on issues such as health care and criminal justice reform.

“When asked about it, Governor Ivey says she is willing to have a conversation,” Dailey says. “She’s not committed to things like Medicaid reform, which Democrats are very on board with, but she’s willing to talk with them.”

Lawmakers resume the regular legislative session Tuesday. Dailey says Ivey will roll out her proposed budgets, which include raises for state employees and teachers. Dailey says a bill is expected that would allow voters to decide on whether Alabama should have a lottery. The prison system is also expected to take up lawmakers’ time. Ivey is pushing for more money to hire additional correctional officers. She’s also proposing to build three new, regional mens prisons, but that might not require legislative approval. 

More Gas Tax Coverage

Alabama House Approves Gas Tax Increase

The Alabama House of Representatives on Friday approved legislation to increase the state gas tax by 10 cents per gallon. The tax increase would be phased in over three years

Alabama House Set to Consider Gas Tax Increase

It's hard to know how much consensus there will be among Alabama House members on a proposed gas tax increase. The House is set to consider the bill Friday.

State’s Proposed Gas Tax Bill Places Fees on Electric, Hybrid Car Owners

State lawmakers went into special session today to consider a proposed gas tax increase to fund road and bridge construction. The bill would impact all motorists -- but some would pay significantly more than others.

Support for Gas Tax Increase Uncertain Among State Lawmakers

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey’s State of the State address Tuesday was typical. But shortly after finishing her speech, she issued a call for a special session around her proposed increase to the state's gasoline tax. That special session starts Wednesday morning.

Gov. Ivey Calls Special Session Around Gas Tax Proposal

A gas tax increase, more money for prisons, and a pre-kindergarten expansion were among the legislative priorities Gov. Kay Ivey highlighted in her State of the State address on Tuesday.

Report Highlights Alabama’s Poor Roads as Officials Consider the ‘T Word’

The state’s roads are in bad shape. Those potholes and accidents costs the average driver in the Birmingham area about $1,800 a year, according to a new report from a Washington-D-C-based transportation group. State lawmakers are expected to discuss a proposed tax increase to fund road and bridge construction.

More Gas Tax Coverage