Nevada state senator calls for gas tax repeal

| 5/8/2006

A Republican hopeful for the Nevada governor’s seat is calling for the state’s portion of the gasoline tax to be repealed. The proposal doesn’t include diesel.

Sen. Bob Beers, R-Las Vegas, is urging Democratic Gov. Kenny Guinn to call a special session of the state’s Legislature to permanently end the state’s collection of the per-gallon tax. Federal and local taxes on gasoline would not be affected by the plan.

“It won’t be long before Nevadans start to take a real hit at the gas pumps,” Beers said in a written statement. “Gas prices are high and will continue to rise as the weather gets warmer and the demand for gas increases before Memorial Day.”

This is the second time Beers has proposed repealing the nearly 24-cent-per-gallon tax that primarily pays for transportation projects. A request to temporarily suspend the tax was offered last fall when fuel prices peaked but the governor declined to intervene.

Guinn spokesman Steve George said the governor wouldn’t entertain the latest idea unless he was approached by legislative leadership, The Associated Press reported. George said the governor also would need to know how the state would pay for roads and highways without the nearly $191 million the tax collected in fiscal year 2005.

Beers said that money could be replaced with the growing state government tax surplus. He told the Nevada Appeal the surplus revenue from the state’s current two-year budget could surpass $600 million.

“When you have people out there who are taking a real hit in the wallet and being forced to make difficult choices for their families because of rapidly rising gas prices, it’s absurd for the government to sit on a large surplus,” Beers said.