County Commissioner Answers Questions about Gas Tax Proposal
Following the Monday morning Talk Back show, KGVO reached out to Missoula County Commissioner Josh Slotnik for answers to questions that listeners had posed regarding the proposed two cents per gallon gas tax to be voted on by commissioners.
The first question was if the two cents per gallon tax could be increased by commissioners over the years if the voters passed it in the June primary.
“According to state law, the tax can only be two cents and we at the local level have no authority to change it,” said Slotnik. “The only way the tax could go up is if the state legislature made that choice and then gave us the authority. The way the law is now and has been since about 1994 it has to be two cents and can’t be more, and we don’t have the authority to change it.”
Slotnik said the funds raised are required to be used only for the reason proposed in the ballot initiative.
“The same statute also says the money can only be used for the repair and maintenance of roads,” he said. “We have a public works department that has its own account and we have road repair and maintenance, and it will go right there.”
Slotnik reiterated the reason why he favors the two cents per gallon tax.
“The part of it for me that is most compelling is that it isn’t just us in terms of the residents of Missoula County,” he said. “We get 1.5 million in Missoula and these folks drive and use our roads and they should pay their fair share of maintaining those roads. Right now, you and I cover all those costs even though we aren’t the only ones who drive on those roads."
Slotnik also emphasized that the tax would only be levied on gasoline and not on diesel fuel.
All three of the commissioners voted on Monday afternoon to place the issue on the June primary ballot.