Daphne Mayor Dane Haywood knows the upcoming legislative session’s biggest discussion will center on raising or implementing a new tax on gasoline in Alabama. He just hopes the final product will be good for Daphne and other cities.
“There are some things that I’m deeply concerned about and we just need our region to be properly represented,” Haygood said. “It’s being pushed widely and I know Gov. Ivey is supportive of it. It’s time we do something for the infrastructure of Alabama. I do think something is going to happen. The question is what that is it going to look like and how is it a fair representation of the state and where the money is generated.”
Haygood has heard about several plans on how the tax will be collected and distributed, and he believes some would take money from large population centers and areas that are growing. One based on the single seller tax use, he said, would take away money collected in those areas.
“Those buckets of money designated for counties and cities are going to go into a big pot and be distributed back out based on population,” Haygood said. “I think that is very dangerous for our area and a number of areas that generate more sales tax from gasoline sales — high-tourism areas, and Baldwin County kind of falls into one of those buckets. We would be a big-time net loser on it.”
He said he believes the point of sale where the tax is collected should be a factor in where the money is spent or the area where roads and infrastructure are the most heavily used.
“If the consumption or point of sale is here, then that means to me it’s tied to more of a user fee,” Haygood said. “That means whoever stopped at the convenience store or gas station and pumped gas had to be [driving] on that route. I couldn’t be driving around Baldwin County and pumping gas in Huntsville.”
Traditionally, gas taxes in Alabama are levied to help with highway maintenance and are based on a flat rate that hasn’t changed since 1992.
“It’s not like sales tax, where you pay a certain percentage,” Sen. Pro Tem Del Marsh told a South Baldwin Chamber luncheon in December. “It’s a flat number and that number has stayed flat for 26 years.” That rate is currently 18 cents per gallon.
Haygood said leaders across the state need to come together and implement the best plan possible.
“I haven’t seen the full bills that are out there and I’m just trying to hear the full bills out of Montgomery before something gets passed and signed into law that doesn’t really address local needs,” Haygood said. “We have to talk about these things and find out where the local concerns are. There are simple solutions for compromise instead of having counties and cities kind of argue about where we are.
“Let’s understand the problem, let’s look at it through a number of different lenses and come up with solutions that work for everybody.”
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