Topeka Highway advocates on Monday sounded alarms about the House Republican leadership plan to cut taxes, saying the proposal includes a provision that would take money from future highway projects.
"We're opposed to changing the way that T-Works was funded in the original legislation," said Julie Lorenz, chief executive of Economic Lifelines, a coalition of groups that supports the state's comprehensive transportation program.
T-Works is a 10-year, multi-billion transportation program that was approved by the Legislature in 2010. That year, the Legislature approved a temporary one-cent increase in the state sales tax, bringing the rate to 6.3 cents per dollar. In 2013, that is scheduled to fall back to 5.7 cents per dollar, and four-tenths of each cent will go toward T-Works.
But House GOP leaders have unveiled a plan to reduce state income tax rates. The plan would use sales taxes meant for T-Works to buy down the income tax rates. A table provided by the House speaker's office shows the transportation plan being shorted $351 million over a two-year period.
Lorenz said such a reduction would result in fewer highway projects getting done.
She also said the plan seems to go counter to a bi-partisan plan that was recently announced to accelerate $50 million of highway projects to take advantage of low construction prices and spur job growth.