The State Senate has defeated a bill that would take money from the Permanent Mineral Trust Fund to maintain and construct roads.
It would divert over 57 million dollars in fiscal year 2014 that would have flowed into the PMTF. When combined with a ten cent increase in the gas tax, it would raise nearly 72-million dollars. Senator Stan Cooper says it would help the state catch up with its road maintenance needs and provide more substantial funding.
But Senators objected to taking money from the PMTF, saying that the money from that account is to help pay for future government needs. Sheridan Senator Bruce Burns says they need to resist ever touching money that flows into that account.
“Now that’s going to start becoming a target for another good cause. This is a good cause, but there is no shortage of good causes that we see during over our 40 days down here and you can rationalize any of it. Trust me, this is a Pandora's box that we are opening."
House Floor Leader Phil Nicholas also encouraged the Senate to leave that account alone, saying that it is money that the state will need in the future. The Senate could debate the Gas Tax measure later in the week.