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Herbert May Call Special Session to Address Gas Tax Revenue Shortage In Some Cities, Counties

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Governor Gary Herbert may call a special session of the legislature to change the way revenue from the state’s gasoline tax is dispersed to local governments.  After last year’s gas tax increase, some cities and counties were shortchanged.

Lawmakers in 2016 went back and changed the formula for appropriating gas tax revenue after they passed a gas tax increase in 2015. As a result, eleven rural counties and one rural town are getting more money than they expected, while the remaining cities and counties are getting less. Because of the mix up, legislative leaders requested that no municipality gets access to gas tax revenue collected in May and June until the problem is sorted out. Cameron Diehl is an attorney for the Utah League of Cities and Towns.

“Though I can’t say any specific projects, we’ve heard there may be some contracting issues,” Diehl says. “And bills are due and they’re expecting to get money in August to help pay those bills and that money will likely come later in the year than they anticipated.”

All of the gas tax revenue has to be spent on specific transportation projects.

Midvale City leaders are proposing a property tax increase. City Manager Kane Loader says a good chunk of that new money would have to be spent on roads because of the gas tax glitch, compounded by the failure of Proposition 1 to pass. 

“If they’re able to fix that we’ll get the additional 70 to 80,000 dollars. That will help us,” Loader says. We’re at the point where we’re needing to rebuild roads and not just do an overlay, so we’ll still put everything that we can get into roads.

Local government leaders have to come up with a new formula for calculating gas tax payments. If the parties involved come to an agreement, Jon Cox, a spokesman for Governor Gary Herbert told KUER the governor may call a special session of the legislature to fix the problem

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