The recent 10-cent hike in the Alabama gas tax was rushed through like a thief in the night. It kept being sold as needed for roads and bridges.
If someone pressed the point, you could get a subtle, “and to improve the Port of Mobile.”
That is all well and good.
But what no one said openly was where the current gas tax is going.
Gov. Kay Ivey said this new 10-cent tax would raise $300 million a year. If that is true, how is the current 18-cent tax only raising $395 million a year?
It is because the legislature takes about $65 millions a year from the gas tax receipts and gives it to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency and the court system.
While these agencies may need the money, why not fund them from the General Fund?
The new 10-gas tax is earmarked specifically for roads, bridges and the Port of Mobile. But, there is no restriction on the legislature from taking more of the original 21.9-cent gas tax and giving it wherever they wish.
The end result could be we pay more for gas taxes and the overall gas tax fund continues to shrink.
That is a quick look at the fine Alabama Legislature in action. Pull money from a fund, identify it as deficient, increase taxes to fill the hole while dreaming up more ways to pull the money and never fix the problem the tax is for.