Gas Tax Proposal: Farmers want to keep exemption - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Gas Tax Proposal: Farmers want to keep exemption

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BLACK HAWK COUNTY (KWWL) -

A proposed gas tax hike in Iowa wouldn't change the diesel fuel tax exemption for some agricultural equipment.

Farmers use the red-dyed diesel fuel in tractors, combines, and other equipment, machinery which is rarely supposed to travel on Iowa's roadways.

On a cold Winter day, Dustin Sage is on his tractor doing work that must be done.

There's no rest on the farm - even if it's 10 degrees in February.

The Black Hawk County farmer is grinding grain for cattle feed.

The tractor he's using has a special red-dyed diesel in it.

It's exempt from any fuel tax.

"This exemption is fairly important. A lot of the fuel we consume, we use in field operations, off-road operations. A lot of this fuel never sees a road use anywhere around our operation," said Sage.

Tractors, combines and field equipment are all exempt from the fuel tax.

Over-the-road diesel vehicles are subject to the tax, and must already pay more than 22 cents a gallon in fuel taxes.

Sage says tractors and combines on his family's farmland only run a handful of miles on county roads.

He thinks the red-dyed diesel exemption should remain but the fuel tax hike needs to be passed.

"I believe it's the fairest, most equitable way to pay the road use tax. It's a user fee, the more you drive, the more you pay. While it may not be the most appealing, it's the fairest," said Sage.

The latest Iowa Poll by the Des Moines Register shows Iowans are split on whether the gas tax should be raised.

It could come to a vote in the state legislature in Des Moines as early as Tuesday.

The gas tax increase would provide about $215 million a year to repair Iowa's roads and bridges.

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