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The former Daily Statesman is now The Dexter Statesman and currently does not have an operating website.

"Gas Tax Holiday:" Good idea?

Posted Tuesday, July 1, 2008, at 8:49 PM

I don't usually post blogs like this, but the new web question has me in a dilemma. I had to hit "I don't know" to the question "Would you support or oppose suspending the federal gasoline tax of 18 cents per gallon this summer?"

"I don't know" is a pretty feeble answer to an important question, and I think I need to explore this issue and get myself informed. As usual, I've been fiddling around on the goat farm and haven't paid attention to some of the important issues of the day.

I googled the topic (usual solution when I don't know something), and I found that the issue is a political hot button, which makes it even more out of my field, but I shall forge ahead in the hopes that my blog buddies will make up for my shortcomings. I've never known them to be at a loss for words - especially on something as earth-shattering as our pathetic gas situation.

I'll start with this introduction from the Washington Post:

"Both John McCain and Hillary Clinton have called for a 'gas tax holiday' this summer to offer commuters and vacationers some release from spiraling gas prices. They have urged Congress to suspend the 18.4 cent federal gas tax and 24.4 cent diesel tax between Memorial Day and Labor Day, a step that could cost the government about $10 billion in revenues. The only major candidate to oppose the idea is Barack Obama, who voted for a similar measure in Illinois eight years ago. Obama now says that consumers will derive little benefit from the tax moratorium. So who is right?"

Illinois passed a tax moratorium in 2000 with the following results (once again quoting from the Washington Post):

"The gas tax moratorium proved politically popular in Illinois, but economically questionable. The Illinois Economic and Fiscal Commission estimated that the state lost $175 million in revenues during the six-month period. A subsequent study by the National Bureau of Economic Research showed that gas prices fell by 3 percent, meaning that only three fifths of the savings from reduced taxes was passed on to consumers."

A poll taken by the Chicago Tribune found that only 28% of the motorists in the survey actually thought they were paying less for gas, while the effect of the reduced taxes was devastating on the state.

So, what do we think here in Southeast Missouri, folks? Daily Statesman results so far:

Would you support or oppose suspending the federal gasoline tax of 18 cents per gallon this summer?

Support: 67.1% (55 votes)

Oppose: 22.0% (18 votes)

I don't know: 11.0% (9 votes)

82 votes cast

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

I'm opposed. Sure, it may save us a small amount...but the rest of the economy is already suffering...so it would probably hurt more than help in the long run.

-- Posted by mrsdolphin on Tue, Jul 1, 2008, at 11:25 PM

I agree. I don't think it would save us much at all, and it would hurt our road systems.

Besides, we need to learn to cut back on our oil consumption. A "holiday" is just another way to put it off.

-- Posted by goat lady on Wed, Jul 2, 2008, at 8:05 AM

I agree with you ladies, and feel slightly insulted at the way our politicians try to throw us crumbs in an election year.

-- Posted by gardengirl on Wed, Jul 2, 2008, at 9:45 AM

MD, there is a "fine print" detail with this idea that seems to be ignored. The money to be raised by the gas tax this year has already been budgeted to be spent by the feds, and it will be spent. That means the money not collected by the tax will have to come from somewhere else -- likely the feds will simply borrow the $10 billion not collected and add it to the national debt. So this idea is a form of a person going out and having a nice dinner and charging it on a credit card instead of paying cash. Sometime down the line the bill comes due. So much of the federal highway funds are being funneled into pork barrel projects like light rail that do nothing to benefit most people or alleviate congestion, that it might be better to just end the federal gas tax.

-- Posted by FJGuy on Wed, Jul 2, 2008, at 12:44 PM

I'm opposed to suspending the gas tax for the summer like the rest of you so far. It won't help me much at all, but the loss of that money will really hurt the maintenance and improvement of the highways and bridges across the country. fjguy is right, the money that is allocated for contracts that have already bet let will have to come from somewhere. In Missouri, our bridges are is such sad condition that they can't stand much more neglect.

-- Posted by Ducky on Wed, Jul 2, 2008, at 12:51 PM

Slow down everyone, slow down, I oppose the suspension of collecting this 'piddly' amount when compared what a gallon of gas costs. I have been doing an experiment and just slowing from 5-10 miles per hour has made a huge difference in my little 05 Ford Escape.I've noticed the 'big diesel' trucks that used to come down my street have slowed considerable, no more hot-rodding from the stop signs and some have even traded to a smaller truck. It can be done.

-- Posted by changedname on Wed, Jul 2, 2008, at 1:18 PM

I don't think it'll make much difference. How about an "Energy Savings Day"? I posted a blog titled that on http://www.ourcampaigns.com/UserDetail.h...

Click swiftprohibitionist under OC Blog and check it out. Don't know if that'd work but I bet it'd be better than the bandaid approach of a tax holiday.

-- Posted by swift on Wed, Jul 2, 2008, at 3:34 PM

Swift, I haven't found the article about energy yet, but I did see the bears on the highway. It's a cool photo, but does it have a significance?

-- Posted by goat lady on Wed, Jul 2, 2008, at 6:42 PM

I always support lowering or ridding the American worker of taxes. Since the government needs to quit spending, not giving those crooks $10 Billion is a great idea. Dolphin, it won't hurt the economy one bit because taxes don't stimulate the economy. You must have flunked Economics 101.

Dexterite, why do you oppose this idea? In the business I'm in, 18.4 cents can be pretty costly over a few months. Plus, from what I've heard from you, you should stop experimenting. Someone is bound to get hurt.

-- Posted by Jim Morrison on Thu, Jul 3, 2008, at 2:02 AM

Morrison, what an enigmatic posting! How could Dexterite's slowing down hurt someone?? I remember when our speed limits were 55. When they were increased, the number of accidents and deaths also increased. In these hard times, Dexterite's suggestion makes good sense.

-- Posted by goat lady on Thu, Jul 3, 2008, at 6:38 AM

gl, notice the bears are all going one way? I like to think of them as liberals going the wrong direction! lol! just kidding of course!

-- Posted by swift on Thu, Jul 3, 2008, at 3:21 PM

Yeah, swift, but it could also be greedy conservative Republicans heading out to devour the poor... lol! Just kidding, of course!

-- Posted by goat lady on Thu, Jul 3, 2008, at 10:56 PM

Well...It could be that too, GL! I guess I really never thought about it- I like bears and the choice was pretty unique. Glad you checked out my blog though! I'm thinking of doing one on there- Reflecting On Past Invlvement in Politics, starting with the first presidential campaign rally I attended- Ricard Nixon's reelection campaign stop at Ontario International Airport, Ontario California in '72, soon after I had turned 14.

-- Posted by swift on Mon, Jul 7, 2008, at 2:59 PM

Ah yes Swift, Nixon in 1972. Ran on the platform that peace was at hand in Vietnam, after having run on a platform in 1968 of having a secret "solution" to end the war in Vietnam. But you do have to keep in mind that Nixon only said that he wasn't a crook, he didn't say that he wasn't a pathological liar who would say anything to get elected. Which sums up every politician from either major party that has run for President, or that is running this year.

-- Posted by FJGuy on Mon, Jul 7, 2008, at 5:59 PM

Just give me my money. They can completely eliminate the federal gas tax if they want to. How many times is that gas taxed anyway?

-- Posted by I.B. Le Truth on Mon, Jul 7, 2008, at 8:14 PM

IB, you'll get your money back when the sun rises from the west, rain travels upwards, and politicians don't speak with a forked tongue. So you might want to avoid protesting by going on a hunger strike.

-- Posted by FJGuy on Mon, Jul 7, 2008, at 8:36 PM

You are right on both comments FJ!

-- Posted by swift on Tue, Jul 8, 2008, at 3:47 PM

If the opportunity presents itself I will gladly accept it though.

-- Posted by I.B. Le Truth on Wed, Jul 9, 2008, at 6:22 PM

Jim Morrison, #1, read my post where it says "...in the long run." I wasn't necessarily implying just the taxes in general...but the whole topic overall. Everything is linked to something...

#2. Where did you go to school? If it was Dexter, then they must have dropped Economics 101 by the time I got there. I had to draw my opinions and conclusions a/b the economy from other sources.

-- Posted by mrsdolphin on Wed, Jul 9, 2008, at 6:46 PM

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Madeline DeJournett
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Madeline (Giles) DeJournett is the Advance writer for the North Stoddard Countian. A retired high school English/history teacher, she spent 32 years teaching in 5 schools in Missouri and Alaska. These days, she lives quietly with a menagerie of wild and domestic animals on 52 secluded acres in the remote Tillman hills south of Advance. She graduated from Dexter High School in 1960 and Southeast Missouri State in 1964. She can be contacted at advancensc@sbcglobal.net.
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