Gas Tax Hike Unlikely After Special Interest Opposition

January 13, 2015

Republican Governor Scott Walker and two GOP Senate and Assembly leaders say it’s unlikely they’ll approve a gas tax hike to pay for expensive road projects after powerful special interests that have contributed $5.4 million to their campaigns opposed it.

Walker’s transportation secretary pitched a plan in November that called for a $750 million increases in gas taxes and driver fees over two years. But the governor, who plans on introducing his proposed 2015-17 state budget February 3, said recently he was not “keen” on a gas tax increase, and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos of Rochester and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald of Juneau say they don’t think they have the votes to pass it.

Ten business groups representing business, manufacturing, construction, agriculture, petroleum, transportation and tourism interests, among others, have questioned the increases.

Those interests gave about $5.3 million in large individual and political action committee contributions to Walker’s campaign between 2013 and July 28, 2014 – about 30 percent of the $17.7 million in large individual and PAC contributions he accepted during that time. Fitzgerald accepted about $73,000 (38 percent) of his large individual and PAC contributions from those interests, and Vos received nearly $34,000 (37 percent) of his contributions from those groups during the same period.