DES MOINES, Iowa - A bill that will raise Iowa's gas tax by ten-cents per gallon, as soon as March 1, took a big step forward at the statehouse Thursday. That's thanks in large part to a committee membership shuffle by Iowa House Speaker Kraig Paulsen.
Paulsen said the entire house is ready to approve the gas tax bill. But before it could make it to that vote, it first had to make it out of the House Ways and Means committee. That vote was not a certainty so Paulsen made two moves today that increased the likelihood of passing.
Paulsen replaced Jake Highfill, who he says was a 'no' vote on raising the gas tax, with Brian Moore, who he says is a "yes" vote, on the committee. Paulsen also removed Zach Nunn from the committee for one day and put himself in Nunn's place.
"I've never seen this happen before i was going to vote no and I`ll continue to vote no. I've been opposed to the 10 cent gas tax since the beginning. I ran on a platform that I would support my constituency, I don`t believe it`s in the best interest of my constituents and it`s one of those things that once you pick your position you stand firm on it," says Rep. Nunn.
The bill passed out of a committee by a 13 to 12 vote with Moore and Paulsen voting yes. It now goes to the full house.
Paulsen is defending the changes saying it's his job to make sure bills the full House wants to debate make it there.
"It is clear to me at this point the majority of the two caucuses in the House want to debate this bill on the floor so it`s out of committee and moving to the calendar," says Paulsen.
If it is passed in its current form, it would take effect on the first day of the month after it is signed.