Gas tax increase would help local highway

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Ohio County Council has approved a transfer of $2896.81 from the county highway road salt account to help in the repair of highway equipment.

Ohio County Highway Superintendent Ron York reported a trackhoe bill is expected to use $13,000 of his $14,000 remaining funds and repair of other equipment is needed.

Councilman Dill Dorrell reported that help may be on the way for the smallest county with fewest roads.

Current legislation proposes a 10 cent increase on gas/diesel. It’s been18 cents since 2003. Also, Dorrell reported vehicle registration would go up $15 which increases with the size of truck.

The House Bill 1002 heads to the senate. “It’s a good bill for local roads and streets, “noted Dorrell. “We’ve been fortunate here to have been able to use riverboat money.”

Another factor in funding is HB 1350 which was proposed to help casinos against competition from neighboring states. The bill would have reduced the held harmless funding from $48 million down to $30 million. It was reduced to $40 million. The bill also sought to shift the admission tax to a supplemental wagering tax. That would have left the county without gaming taxes. The county’s gaming money comes from admission taxes. However, they do receive part of the wagering tax from the city of Rising Sun.

The bill is now in the senate appropriations committee where changes can be made. Local senator Chip Perfect is a member of the committee.

Dorrell hopes the bottom line is that the county wouldn’t lose as much and that it is something they can live with.

Another piece of legislation which would have an inpact locally was Senate Bill 354. It would have allowed Rising Sun Star Casino to relocate some of its slots and table games to a proposed new casino in Terre Haute.