Late on a Friday afternoon the three leaders appeared for a brief press conference without taking questions. They announced an eight year renewal of the Transportation Trust Fund with $2 billion a year from the state and matching funds from the Federal government to be funded through a 23 cent increase in the gas tax. In order to maintain ‘tax fairness’ the deal includes: an increase in the Earned Income Tax Credit, retiree tax relief, veteran’s honorably discharged personal exemption, a two year phase out of the estate tax and a decrease in the sales tax 1/8th% this year and an additional 1/4% the following year.
The Governor pledged to work on passing the constitutional amendment to dedicate 100% of the gas tax to TTF funding. He also said that he has spoken with Republican leadership in the Legislature and seems to have their support.
While we will have to work out the loss to the general revenue fund for these tax cuts, they promise to make the upcoming budget cycle even tighter.