Our Opinion: SAGE suggestion of highway fee has no merit

The Nevada Spending and Government Efficiency (SAGE) Commission, which was set up last year to advise Gov. Jim Gibbons on ways to save the state money " or to make money " has just released its third 90-day report.

The recommendations appear to have merit, but one idea should never be considered by any public body, local or state, in Nevada. According to this SAGE report, Nevada should devise a plan that will continue funding for its highways. The long-range solution to this plan is to make every Nevada motorist carry the financial burden.

This idea does not carry the same weight of implementing new taxes, but it smells like one, disguised as an enormous fee.

"The pilot program to test distance-based user fees is one option and it behooves us to study it now before we find the fuel tax account empty," wrote Chairman Bruce James.

The more one must drive to his or her job, the more that person must pay the state for the privilege of driving on the state's highways. What a bonanza, then, for the state to reap additional money from those who must commute to Carson City because of employment. It's instituting a type of toll fee (don't want to mention fee, do we?) on our citizens who are already strapped for cash.

The SAGE Commission, no doubt, will have more recommendations to submit to Gov. Gibbons before the end of the Legislature. Let's hope the recommendations are not disguised as fee-based programs that will hurt the average person more than what the actual economy has been doing for the past year.


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