Beers calls for repeal of state gas tax
State Senator Bob Beers, R-Las Vegas, has called for a special legislative session to repeal the gas tax.
That tax generates about $200 million a year and is used primarily to repair and build roads and highways in Nevada. That tax revenue has been used to guarantee revenue streams to pay off hundreds of millions of dollars worth of bonds funding numerous construction projects.
Beers said in a prepared statement the repeal would have no effect on road maintenance and construction because those projects could be funded by the growing government tax surplus in state government.
Asked about the ramifications of eliminating the funding source dedicated toward paying those bonds, Beers said “we may have to work out the details.” But, he said, a guarantee from the general fund should take care of the situation.
In addition, Beers earlier called for massive rebates from that surplus to return the money to Nevada resident. He said Thursday that eliminating the gas tax would effectively be a rebate to Nevadans where they are being hit hardest.
“This is effectively a return of surplus excess taxation to taxpayers,” he said. “The bottom line is, we are currently overtaxing our citizens by more than the amount of the gas tax we collect.”
He said the surplus revenue this biennium could surpass $600 million according to analysts.
“The point of my campaign has been we need reign government growth in,” he said. “If we do that, then we can reduce taxes.”
This is the second time Beers has called on Gov. Kenny Guinn to use a special session because of rising gas prices. When gas prices peaked last fall, Beers called for a temporary suspension of the gas tax by special session but the governor declined to intervene.
Guinn’s answer was much the same Thursday. Spokesman Steve George said that before the governor would consider a special session, he would want legislative leadership to tell him this is an issue critical to the state and request a special session.
George said the governor would also want to see a plan – in writing – outlining how Beers would replace the revenue lost by repealing the gas tax and how the state would continue its multimillion dollar road building, expansion and repair program.
Beers called for speedy action, saying that with the summer tourist season approaching, it is also critical to keep gas prices as low as possible to prevent tourists from changing their vacation plans. He said that with increased demand in the summer, gas prices can be expected to rise, not fall back as they did last year, unless something is done.
• Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 687-8750.