INDIANAPOLIS — A conservative, anti-tax interest group is targeting state Rep. Ed Soliday, R-Valparaiso, for leading the legislative effort to ensure Indiana has sufficient resources to meet its infrastructure needs for years to come.
Americans for Prosperity-Indiana is sending mailers to some Valparaiso-area homes and deploying targeted online advertisements to call attention to Soliday's sponsorship of House Enrolled Act 1002, which raised the state's gasoline tax by 10 cents per gallon and increased vehicle registration fees by $15 per year.
"We are disappointed that after years of fiscally-responsible, low-tax policies that grew our economy, certain lawmakers decided to reverse course by advocating for the gas tax," said AFP Indiana Director Justin Stevens.
"If lawmakers vote to make life more expensive for Hoosiers and erode the economic benefits we've reaped through years of tax cuts, our activists will hold them accountable."
Soliday said he's not intimidated by AFP, in part because polls show a strong majority of Hoosiers, as well as Indiana businesses, agree that it was right to restore the buying power of the gas tax that's been lost to inflation since the rate last was adjusted in 2003.
"We have a whole lot of people who say we need a good infrastructure and are willing to pay for it," Soliday said. "If I lose an election because I did the right thing, then so let it be. I'm not ashamed of it for one minute."
Soliday suggested AFP "must have money to burn" if it is going after him. He said the group should try coming up with a serious alternative to the tax and fee increases if it is looking for something to do.
"Because of the advocacy of radical, reactionary groups like Americans for Prosperity our infrastructure was allowed to fall into disrepair, and sooner or later someone had to stand up to them and say, 'This needs to be fixed,'" Soliday said.
His road funding legislation was approved 69-29 by the Republican-controlled House and 37-12 in the Republican-controlled Senate.
Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb proclaimed as he signed the measure into law: "It will be the largest, nonstop, sustained building program that this state has ever seen, and one of the largest in the nation."