Gov. Holcomb stops short of supporting Republican roads plan

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb stopped short of supporting the House Republicans' roads plan Thursday. While Holcomb said the state needs to raise revenue, he did not say how that should be done.

The Republican plan, House Bill 1002,  calls for a 10-cent increase to the Indiana gasoline tax and additional registration fees.

"There are various revenue sources and I view them as dials," Holcomb said. "You dial it up or dial it down."

House Democrats have their own plan, which they say will not cost taxpayers extra money. Instead, they want to pull money from the state's reserves and put a freeze on tax breaks for corporations and high-income residents.

Holcomb said he is willing to work with House Democrats but pointed out some flaws in their plan.

"I don’t think their plan they put forward addresses our needs and protects our fiscal strength as the state of Indiana," Holcomb said.

House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) calling the Democrats' plan "misguided" after session Thursday afternoon.

"The plan doesn’t accurately fund what we need, imperils the state's triple-A bond rating and would take money away from schools," Bosma said. "So, strike one, strike two, strike three. No."

Meantime, House Minority Leader Scott Pelath (D-Michigan City) emphasizing his party's plan would mean no tax increase.

"We’ve identified ways, if there is a will across the aisle, to have sizeable investment in our state’s roads and bridges while maintaining revenue streams as they are," Pelath said. "You talk to citizen on the street and first thing you’ll hear from him or her is 'didn’t we have all this extra money?'"

The Indiana Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association is siding the the Democrats in this debate. They are working to launch a campaign aimed at rallying the public to speak out against HB 1002.

"Those rates are way too high , going to drive business away from Indiana, going to drive people fueling across state lines because they’re going to save significant money," said Scot Imus, the executive director of the Indiana Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association.

The group plans on displaying flyers at gas pumps across the state that read: "We already have a $2 billion surplus but Indiana wants more. Say no to Indiana's proposed gas tax."