Local Politics

State lawmaker calls for gas tax holiday

Posted May 16, 2008

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— Presidential candidates have debated temporarily suspending the federal gas tax. Now, state lawmakers are looking at a gas tax holiday this summer.

State Rep. Joe Boylan, R-Moore, plans to formally introduce House Bill 2193 on Monday, calling for suspending North Carolina's 30.2-cents-per-gallon gas tax for 90 days, beginning June 15.

"It just makes sense to me, and besides which, the state isn't spending that money on roads. They're wasting it on special pork-barrel projects," Boylan said. "So, I figured if we're wasting the money, why not give it back to the people until we get more disciplined in the state."

The move would save the owner of a vehicle with a 20-gallon tank about $6 on each fill-up. Filling up once a week would equate to about $78 in savings during the tax holiday.

North Carolina has the sixth-highest state gas tax in the nation.

State Department of Transportation officials declined to comment on the proposal, except to say that suspending the state gas tax for three months would mean about $425 million less for road projects.

"Knowing that and looking at it more from a long-term view, I don't see what the point would be," driver Erik Prince said.

Presumed Republican presidential nominee John McCain and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton have called for similar tax holidays for the 18.4 cents-per-gallon federal gas tax. They contend drivers need some relief from record-high gas prices during an uncertain economy.

Clinton's rival, Barack Obama, has called a gas tax holiday a gimmick that won't save drivers much money and won't solve the problem of rising gas prices.

A source close to North Carolina House Speaker Joe Hackney said Boylan's bill is a long shot to pass the General Assembly.

Gov. Mike Easley said he doesn't think suspending the gas tax is a good idea at the state level.

"I think this thing has to be done on the federal level. My guess is they would probably have to increase taxes on the oil companies," Easley said.

31 Comments

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  • nofear May 19, 2008

    If the state is not using the money for what it is collected for then remove the tax. Why is there going to be toll roads.
    Thetsate should pay back every cent that was miss used or used on another project. Our government/ state at its best

  • john60 May 19, 2008

    This was a stupid idea for the Federal gas tax, and it's still a stupid idea for the state gas tax. That money goes to funding highway construction projects, and the politician's claim that "it is wasted on pork barrel projects anyway" is baseless without facts. Since the Highway Trust Fund gets its money from the gas tax, and the legislators have been taking $172 million annually from there, perhaps he should explain where that money is going. Does he think that money is "pork barrel spending" too?

  • whatelseisnew May 16, 2008

    worland: go ahead and keep driving whatever vehicle you want. That's what I do, and it is not fair that you and I are contributing more gas tax dollars than people that drive 4 bangers - they should have to pay an extra high registration fee, maybe around $500 to pay for the extra wear and tear on the roads. We should get special gas tax rebates from the state and feds for every 1000 miles we drive.

  • Hip-Shot May 16, 2008

    I love it. A state lawmaker actually admitting that they are not spending our money where it is supposed to be spent: on the highways. Its being used on pork-barrel funding.Thats the quote of the week.

    Question: If they aren't spending that money they're collecting in the form of gas taxes on the highways as they are supposed to, then why are they trying to install toll roads? So they can throw that away on pork-barrel spending also?

  • Mr. Iowa May 16, 2008

    Worland: If you can't give up the comfort of your truck, then you need to pay for that comfort. It's not fair to the rest of us to have our roads (and whatever else the gas tax pays for) go away so you can live your life in "luxury." My 4 cylinder truck is just as comfortable, as is my 4 cylinder Honda that gets 30 MPG and I fill up once every 3 weeks. With only a 17 gallon tank, I'd save about... $20 for the Honda, and $10 for the truck (which I fill up about every 6 weeks with as little as I drive). Keep the tax rolling in.

    The reason the price of gas won't go down to what it was pre-Katrina is because Americans have proven they'll pay for it regardless. So, lsoing the tax won't do anything, because people have already spoken and said they'll pay for $3.73, so it might drop a few cents but as soon as oil hits $130 (which it might as soon as Monday), it'll jump right back up again. We've already dug the hole, we're already too late.

  • davidgnews May 16, 2008

    It's mismanaged money anyway, and a higher tax on gas than a lot of states - how about they cut it back altogether at the very least? Food tax and gas tax hit poor folks the hardest, too.

    Of course, we can't enjoy 64c /gal gas like the beloved Saudi's !

  • moreupset May 16, 2008

    "It just makes sense to me, and besides which, the state isn't spending that money on roads. They're wasting it on special pork-barrel projects," Boylan said.

    If NC is not spending this tax on roads, Why are we paying it?

    Give us a real tax break. Eliminate all taxes not used for their intended purpose.

  • nodoginthisfight May 16, 2008

    oops forgot some earthquakes, mudslides, waterspouts, in other words if it's bad Bush is responsible for it. Come on people give it a rest.

  • nodoginthisfight May 16, 2008

    Here we go it's Bush's fault: that hurricane Katrina happened,the floods in the midwest, the drought in the southeast,wildfires,tornadoes,hurricanes, monsoons, typhoons,tidal waves,thunderstorms, house fires. did I miss any thing,Oh yes he's the great satan

  • shootermcgavin May 16, 2008

    "So, I figured if we're wasting the money, why not give it back to the people until we get more disciplined in the state."

    Great quote. So the guy voting on the bills says he should be more disciplined. How do these people get elected?
    Get Easley to stop raiding the highway trust fund of $172 million each year to balance the budget for a start. $452 million would build almost the entire I-540 section that will become a toll road.

    The gas tax will have to be raised at some point regardless unless an alternative mileage usage tax is implemented.

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