Senate Republicans say their bill to rework North Carolina's gasoline tax will provide a short-term break to motorists while making road-building revenues more stable. Opponents argue it's just a tax increase in disguise.
The full Senate meets Wednesday to debate and hold the first of two required votes on a measure that reformulates the tax.
First, the bill would reduce the gas tax from 37.5 cents per gallon to 35 cents starting March 1 through the rest of 2015. The tax floor would be 35 cents moving forward.
But if the current formula remained in place, the tax would likely fall well below 35 cents come July because of lower wholesale gas prices.
The gas tax is the Department of Transportation's chief funding source, at more than $1.8 billion annually.
This proposal is good economic news. Since the North Carolina gas tax is a percentage of gas prices it fluctuates with prices. The resulting fluctuation increases the variance of prices at the pump and needlessly creates additional uncertainty in gas tax revenues.