New Mexico lawmakers want reprieve from state's fuel tax

| 5/12/2006

With prices at the pump in New Mexico approaching $2.90 per gallon, some Republican lawmakers have plans to push Gov. Bill Richardson to round up the Legislature for a special session to discuss suspending the state’s tax on fuel.

Rep. Dan Foley and Sen. Rod Adair, both of Roswell, said it would be the “easiest, cleanest, simplest way” to give consumers immediate relief from high fuel prices, The Associated Press reported.

The pair met early this month to discuss how much to cut the 22.8-cent-a-gallon diesel tax and 18.8-cent-a-gallon gasoline tax.

Foley said the motor fuels tax could be repealed until February. The extra time would allow lawmakers to study and enact more permanent changes, he said.

Foley proposed a one-day special meeting of the Legislature to hammer out a consumer relief plan.

The Democratic governor told The AP he hadn’t considered the proposal, but that he wouldn’t rule it out.

Richardson said, however, that a tax holiday could affect bonding for road work that relies on fuel tax earnings. He also said the federal government should take the lead on efforts to rein in prices at the pump.

New Mexico is one of several states where lawmakers have brought up the possibility of offering consumers at least temporary reprieves from state fuel taxes. Among the states considering similar proposals: Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina and Texas.