Presidential Candidates Debate Gas Tax Holiday

May 1, 2008

Prices at the pump keep going up fueling the debate between the Presidential candidates over suspending the 18-cent federal gas tax for the summer.

"The oil companies have to be part of the solution. That's why I want them to pay the gas tax for the summer, and we've got to get into the mindset where we start holding them accountable," said Hillary Clinton, (D) Presidential candidate.

Clinton and Republican John McCain support a summer reprieve for drivers.

"Is this addressing our dependence on foreign oil and the rising costs of gasoline? Of course not, but it's a nice little break for Americans," said John McCain, (R) Presidential candidate.

The idea is stalling on Capitol Hill. Suspending the tax would leave a shortfall of about $10 billion in the fund to repair the nation's roads and bridges. Senator Obama says it's an election-year gimmick. He opposes the gas tax holiday in favor of what he calls a longterm energy plan.

"So now it's the Clinton/McCain proposal to suspend the gas tax for three months. Here's the problem, not only is it worth 30 cents a day to you but it takes money out of the federal highway fund," said Obama, (D) Presidential candidate.

Some economists are also weighing in.

"The problem is, this proposal just won't work," said Len Burman of the Tax Policy Center.

Some analysts say as soon as any tax cut took effect, people would drive more, driving up demand and prices. While the idea may sound good to drivers, it's far from reality. It's unlikely it'll gain any traction in congress and more likely to end in a stalemate.

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