Gov. Kay Ivey Tuesday signed a controversial gas tax increase into law, after it won final passage in the Republican-led state senate. The vote was 28-6. Ivey hailed the bill's approval as the Legislature's "finest hour." Supporters, led by Ivey, said the 10-cent increase is needed to fund infrastructure improvements. The plan also authorizes automatic tax hikes of up to a penny every other year. During the signing ceremony, Ivey paid special tribute to freshman lawmakers. "New members, job well done," Ivey said. Ivey recently admitted that GOP legislative leaders carefully vetted the freshmen, by making sure they would support a tax hike before they ran.
Opponents contended that the hike was unnecessary, and a burden on taxpayers. "It's very unpopular with the people," Alabama Republican Party Secretary Josh Dodd said. "Instead of representing their people, the legislators are representing special interests. The bill was a major priority for the Business Council of Alabama, and other politically powerful groups.
Dan Roberts (R-Mountain Brook), Jim McClendon (R-Springville), and Shay Shelnutt (R-Trussville) were the Birmingham-area senators who voted against the tax increase. The other senators who voted "no" were: Larry Stutts (R-Tuscumbia), Will Barfoot (R-Montgomery), and Vivian Davis Figures (D-Mobile). The plan raises the tax six cents per gallon after Aug. 31. Additional two cent increases will take effect in October of 2020 and 2021.