Wed May 04 06:57:45 PDT 2016
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Houston County gas tax bill running on empty
Ken Curtis

A proposed legislative vote on a four cents per gallon Houston County gas tax increase may be dead. Commission Chairman Mark Culver said there are problems in the language of the local bill introduced in the Alabama legislature calling for a November referendum. “We discovered an issue with the way (the bill) was written between the Legislative Reference Service as opposed to an opinion from the Department of Revenue,” Culver said Wednesday. He’s unsure of the exact problem since the measure is now in the hands of the legislature. The bill is not expected to advance this week and has yet to reach committee. After lawmakers head home Thursday, only five meeting days will remain in the session. While the bill could still receive approval, prospects are diminishing. “It’s got to pass the House and Senate and time is getting short so there are concerns whether we have time to get it passed,” said Culver. The bill authorized a November public vote on the hike that is projected to raise $3-million for road and bridge repairs in the county. Under Alabama law, county referendums must first be approved by the legislature. Culver said Houston County’s bill is not the only one in jeopardy. “There is a lot of concern about a lot of legislation not making it through the process.” A state gas tax bill also appears stalled in the statehouse. Had it passed, Culver said the county would have canceled its tax increase proposal.

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