The decision to vote for legislation that increases a state gas tax had little impact on the reelection rates for those elected officials, according to a new analysis by the Transportation Investment Advocacy Center (TIAC) of election results for over 2,500 state legislators between 2013 and 2016.
Sixteen states that increased their gas tax rates or equivalent measures between 2013 and 2015 – Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington and Wyoming.
Of the legislators who voted on those measures, 82% stood for reelection between 2013 and 2016. Nearly all (91%) of the 1,300 state legislators who voted for a gas tax increase and stood for reelection were sent back to the state house by voters.
Of the 677 elected officials who voted against a gas tax increase, 93% were also re-elected for another term.
The high reelection rates were also evident across party lines and between different types of elected officials in the Assembly, House or Senate. More than 91% of state House Representatives and 94% of state Senators were returned to office.
More than 91% of legislators who sponsored the respective bills to increase the gas tax were also reelected.
Fourteen of the 16 states saw reelection rates over 90%. Four of the seven legislators in Nebraska who voted for a gas tax increase in 2015 and stood for reelection in 2016 won reelection, a rate of 67%.
Further research suggests that other major state issues, including a debate over the death penalty, were the major driver of some of these election losses.
American Road & Transportation Builders Association