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Vt. gas tax goes up Wednesday - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vt. gas tax goes up Wednesday

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

Melissa Monfreda is money-conscious. Her SUV costs $70 a fill up, so she drives from her home in Hinesburg to Cumberland Farms in Burlington once a week for her fill-up. She says prices there are often nearly $20 cents cheaper than back home.

"I have two kids at home and I use my car all day, so I wait every week to fill up here because it's cheaper already," Monfreda said.

When the new tax takes effect Wednesday, her next fill-up will cost a little over $1 more. So while the tax will on average be just six cents more per gallon, for Monfreda every penny counts.

"They want to tax everything and we pay enough on taxes," Monfreda said.

Linda Ayer of Burlington drives a hybrid and doesn't fill up too often, but she wishes the Legislature would find alternatives to taxing the middle class.

"Work at better nonregressive taxes-- I believe in people-- the 1 percent paying a lot more than they do," Ayer said.

Others say the small increase won't impact their bottom lines.

"I'm not too upset about it, now that prices are coming down. So, it will be less than it was before, but I think you need some tax in order to build the bridges and stuff like that," said Tom Nuovo, who supports the gas tax.

Gov. Peter Shumlin says he opposes broad-based taxes, but says the tax is needed to pay for transportation costs, as Vermonters are increasingly buying more fuel-efficient cars and are filling up less often. The tax is expected to bring in $25 million a year.

"We have a leaky bucket in the transportation fund," said Shumlin, D-Vermont. "If we don't repair it, we're not going to be able to make the progress on roads and bridges that are crumbling before our eyes. Bipartisan consensus, the right choice to make, even though we all hate it."

The tax also raises the cost of diesel by two cents this July and an additional cent in 2014.

The governor signed that bill raising the gas tax in private earlier this week.

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