Dem Sen: 'In The Future' We Should Raise Federal Gas Tax

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) on CNN Sunday:

SENATOR DURBIN: I can tell you that there are still deductions, credits, special treatments under the tax code which ought to be looked at very carefully. We forgo about $1.2 trillion a year in the tax code, money that otherwise would go to the government, and when you look closely, some of those things are near and dear to us individually and to the economy; the mortgage interest deduction, charitable deductions, deductions for state and local taxes. But beyond that, trust me, there are plenty of things within that tax code, the loopholes where people can park their money in some island offshore and not pay taxes, these are things that need to be closed. We can do that and use the money to reduce the deficit.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN HOST: So there are other taxes that you believe that you can, however you want to put them, raise, retrieve, whatever, from the wealthy?

SENATOR DURBIN: Absolutely, and I'll also tell you that I think we need to open our minds to other tax revenue. You know, we've had conversations about an infrastructure fund that will really start America building again, for the highways and airports and lochs and dams.

CANDY CROWLEY: How do you fund that? It's already funded by gas taxes, right? You want to raise the federal gas tax?

SENATOR DURBIN: I believe we should have energy taxes that really fund infrastructure investment --

CANDY CROWLEY: On who?

SENATOR DURBIN: -- that's going to create jobs in America. Pardon me?

CANDY CROWLEY: On who? I'm sorry, who would -- whose taxes would be raised?

SENATOR DURBIN: Sell, there's a variety of ways to approach this, Candy. I mean, we've talked about the gas tax, now is not the moment to raise it, but it really is something we should consider in the future. But there are other sources of energy taxes we ought to consider. I'll give you an example: the electric grid, power grid in America is ancient, and if we are going to expand it so that it can meet the needs of the 21st century, we need an investment. That means revenue coming in from that sector. I think they would be open to it if the investment went back into the infrastructure.

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