Responding to predictions of soaring gas prices, state Sen. Bob Beers, an anti-tax advocate and candidate for governor, urged Gov. Kenny Guinn on Thursday to call a special session of the Legislature to repeal the state's portion of the fuel tax.
"We have an opportunity here to ease the burden that gasoline
price spikes place on Nevada families," Beers, R-Las Vegas, said
in a statement. "Common sense dictates we do it now. It's time for
the governor and Legislature to act."
The state's share of fuel taxes is 17.7 cents a gallon. That's
about a third of the total taxes imposed on vehicle fuel. Federal
or local taxes on fuel would not be affected by Beers' plan.
This the second time Beers has proposed repealing the tax, which
pays for road construction.
Guinn isn't taking the first-term senator's idea seriously, said
his spokesman Steve George.
"Before the governor would entertain the idea of calling a
special session he would want the (legislative) leadership to come
to him and say, 'This is an issue we feel we need to convene on,"'
George said the governor also would need to know how the state
would pay for road construction and repair without the $190.8
million the tax collected last fiscal year.
Beers said those funds could be replaced with state surplus
money and then incorporated into "the existing tax structure
imposed on Nevadans."
The plan drew criticism from one of his primary opponents in the
race for governor, U.S. Rep. Jim Gibbons, R-Nev.
"It's irresponsible, with a $4.5 billion transportation
shortfall, to call for a permanent repeal of the very source of
revenue that helps fund our highways," said Gibbons' campaign
manager Robert Uithoven.
Last fall, state Transportation Director Jeff Fontaine predicted
a $2.4 billion shortfall in road construction and maintenance
projects from 2008 until 2014.
Uithoven said Gibbons is "wading through" proposals being
floated in Congress that would repeal the federal portion of the
"He's certainly not opposed to reducing federal gas taxes, but
ultimately he's looking for a real long-term solution and a real
long-term solution essentially requires providing more supply,"
Lt. Gov. Lorraine Hunt also is competing for the Republican
nomination for governor. Her campaign did not immediately returns
calls for comment.