Gas tax hike backers say New Mexico roads need funding

New Mexico’s government has not raised the tax on gasoline since 1993.

This year, that could change.

A sweeping tax bill sponsored by Democrats in the state House of Representatives would increase the tax on gasoline by 10 cents a gallon, from 17 cents to 27 cents, starting in mid-2020. The special fuels tax would go up a nickel, too, from 21 cents to 26 cents.

Backers say New Mexicans do not have to look any further than the wear and tear on the state’s highways for a reason to raise the tax, proceeds of which have traditionally paid for road maintenance.

But opponents contend the state has plenty of money to cover the cost of improving and building roads without hitting up taxpayers.