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Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Gas tax holiday

Several Republican legislators are proposing that the state stop collecting the 20 cent per gallon gas tax until the end of the year. This would be done in order to give Minnesotans some relief at the pump.

But before you start celebrating, keep this in mind: like the property tax relief (Krinkie Checks), this would only happen if the state wins the lawsuit over the tobacco "fee". So once again it is a "wouldn't it be nice if?" plan. Hey, how about a plan for what the state would do if it won a billion-dollar lottery jackpot?

Although it's not as bad as the property tax plan because a gas tax holiday would be more beneficial to lower- and middle-class people, it's still not very good policy. Especially since the state has a huge transportation budget shortfall (as is demonstrated by the Crosstown Commons project being delayed).

The era of cheap gas is over; no tax holiday will stop that. ANWR won't stop that. Tar sands won't stop that. Vastly increased fuel mileage standards for cars, trucks, and SUVs might, but it's a longshot, and you don't see Republicans hopping on that bandwagon. We need to figure out what to do in an age of expensive hydrocarbon energy, or we will be screwed.

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