Gas-tax cut on the table in Texas

Oh, for crying out loud:

The Texas House tentatively adopted a measure Tuesday that would suspend the state’s 20-cent gas tax through the summer.

That would mean an immediate 20-cent drop in the price per gallon.

“The more cars you have, the more relief you get,” said Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, a San Antonio Democrat who added the proposal to an omnibus tax collection bill. “We’re sitting here on record savings. We used to say around here, it’s the people’s money. We ought to give it back.”

[I]t only seemed fair to give Texans a break from soaring gas prices since airlines are exempt from state fuel taxes[, he said].

First of all: OK, what do airlines have to do with anything?

Secondly, if a government is sitting on piles of cash, it most definitely ought to return the surplus to the people the government taxed the money from. But this is a straight-up short-sighted vote-buy. Note that the only discussion, at least in the story, is about the budgetary implications, not about whether slashing the state gas tax is itself a good public-policy move.

(There’s also an alarming passage saying it could cost “anywhere from $500,000 to $700 million,” which I assume should have read $500 million.)

Expect an awful lot more of this if the price of gasoline stays high through the summer.

(Via The Oil Drum.)

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