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Increased gas tax could mean better roads

JACKSON, Miss.- The Senate Finance Committee has passed a proposal to put in place a higher gas tax in order to have money to repair roads. 

Senator Willie Simmons is behind this proposal and says raising gas tax 8 percent, and increasing the cost of car tags will generate enough money to fix roads and bridges in Mississippi.

This figure could amount to $411 million dollars. Simmons says any tax increase is always difficult, but this one could have profound benefits to the ailing streets across the state.

However, State Senator Michael Watson isn’t so sure about the gas tax.

“It sounds like if you breathe air, you’re going to be taxed,” he says. Watson adds that other things could have been done in order to prevent having to raise the gas tax to improve infrastructure.

“Let’s look at the government as a whole. How do we get rid of the waste–a double agency here, whatever there–what can we cut to save money.”

Senator Watson says it is the same concept applied by the business people at the MEC–consolidate here, save waste there, to cover expenses and increase bottom line.

He adds that taking a look at the Mississippi Department of Transportation can also reveal a money saver.

“Maybe a performance audit on MDOT, and I’ve heard a few things out there on that,” says Watson, “and a financial audit on MDOT. There’s a study that shows they’re the eighth most efficient in the country.”

News Mississippi will continue to follow this bill and update as information comes available.

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