Sen. Beers calls for suspension of gas taxes to help residents

State Sen. Bob Beers on Tuesday called on the state to suspend state taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel for the next two months.

"The increased cost of gasoline has the potential to really hurt Nevada's families, businesses and visitors," he said.

Beers, a Las Vegas Republican who is running for governor, said if Gov. Kenny Guinn has the authority to suspend the tax by executive order, he should do so as soon as possible.

If not, he urged Guinn to call a special one-day session of the Legislature to suspend the taxes.

Guinn's office issued a statement saying he would consider a special session if lawmakers support the proposal.

Beers said the state's rainy-day fund could make up the estimated $46.6 million the state would lose in gas tax revenue for two months. That fund will have some $200 million in it by the end of this biennium.

"As leaders, it is our responsibility to take immediate action to provide relief to the people of Nevada while society bears the burdens brought upon us by Hurricane Katrina," he said.

The state imposes a tax of 23 cents per gallon of gasoline sold. In 2004, that generated more than $184.5 million to the state and another $67.6 million for Nevada's county governments. Beers said he was proposing to suspend only the state's 17.5 cent portion of that total.

The state also collects 27 cents for each gallon of diesel fuel sold.

Beers said a one-day special session of the Legislature wouldn't be very costly and that the people and businesses of Nevada need relief from gasoline prices which are now more than $3 a gallon. Those prices are expected to go even higher with the supply of fuel from refineries in the gulf states temporarily halted by hurricane damage.

He estimated the tax break would save the average family about $25 a month.

Lisa Foster of Guinn's office said the governor shares the concern about the cost of gas and its affect on families, tourism, schools and businesses.

"With prices this high we should consider any good ideas," she said. "If after considering the available options, legislators want to pursue a special session, he'd consider it."


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