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Leaders square off over gas tax

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Updated: 8/05/2013 5:48 am
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The battle over the gas tax is taking center stage at the Jacksonville City Council. The mayor wants it to expire but some council members say it's too early to make any decisions.

Rachel Russell makes a trip to the gas station at least once a week. She says it's hard to ignore how the price tag just keeps on climbing.

"About $35 to $40 sometimes more maybe now it's like $45," said Rachel Russell, driver.

For the past 30 years, six cents of every gallon Russell pumps has been going toward the Jacksonville Transportation Authority. It's known as the gas tax and it adds up to millions of dollars a year.

The gas tax is set to expire in 2016.

Jacksonville city leaders are now debating whether or not to let it expire. Council member Matt Schellenberg says while he agrees ending the tax would benefit taxpayers, it's too early to make any decisions.

"I don't believe we should continue it unless [JTA] shows us why they need it and how it's going to benefit the citizens of Jacksonville," said Matt Schellenberg, Jacksonville City Council member for District 6.

Mayor Alvin Brown is taking a more definite stance. In a statement to Action News he says "
That tax is increasingly inefficient in an era of escalating fuel efficiency in motor vehicles.  Taxpayers already have contributed greatly to our road system, including through the Better Jacksonville Plan.”

Schellenberg says his decision will be based on what JTA brings to the table. He says in the past JTA has expressed needing the money to “function”.

"Saying no is not the answer you have to give a credible answer to the citizens other than saying no," says Schellenberg.

Other council members like, Stephen Joost, say they would be in favor of extending the gas tax short term.

"Gas is becoming an obsolete fuel. You're going to have alternatives from the petro model. So you have to go from taxing gas to taxing miles," said Joost.

According to Schellenberg, some sort of gas tax proposal may be introduced in the city council in the next 30 to 90 days.

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imtellin - 8/5/2013 8:01 AM
1 Vote
saying no to the tax expiring,in other words telling taxpayers the tax will go on.. as for credible, well have you ever met a politician that was credible ???

RFM2009 - 8/5/2013 6:32 AM
1 Vote
Jax City Council? - - - They are a JOKE! A joke perp'ed on the taxpayers and voters of this fine City. When.... have they ever... enacted anything the people wanted? They do not represent the voters - they RESENT the voters!

wishmistress - 8/5/2013 1:44 AM
2 Votes seems to me that the mayor's decisive NO is not good enough for him. He seems to feel that if the JTA comes up with a 'valid reason' for the extension, then he's for it. BS! I'm no DEM by any means, but the mayor has pleased me on many points. ...Not all...but many. Schellenberg sounds willing to gamble our $$$'s on his terms. Private negotiations? Just asking.

Terri75 - 8/4/2013 11:08 PM
1 Vote
Schellenberger must be a recipient of the JTA's union dollars.

tlynn - 8/4/2013 10:27 PM
1 Vote
So is he for? Against? Waiting to see which way the wind blows?

tlynn - 8/4/2013 9:58 PM
2 Votes
"Saying no is not the answer you have to give a credible answer to the citizens other than saying no," says Schellenberg. Huh??? Can anyone make sense of this statement? Please decipher this for me! I'm not stupid, but this statement sure as hell makes no sense…to me any way! Can any of you explain what it is that this guy is trying to say? Is it just me? Or do all of these "politicians" speak a different language?

wishmistress - 8/4/2013 9:24 PM
2 Votes
There isn't a single road in this town that you can drive on without being held up by road construction. It is NEVERENDING! The mayor is right. If they keep this tax, they will continue to WASTE our tax dollars forever. Driving here is already a miserable experience.
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