Democrat Rep. Dina Titus, co-sponsor of a bill that would provide a federal gas tax holiday, voted for legislation that would neutralize any benefit Nevada would receive from the proposed gas tax.
Titus, who acknowledges she “totally got fucked by the Legislature” during redistricting is one of the vulnerable Democrats co-sponsoring a bill to suspend the federal gas tax temporarily.
Titus’s proposal would suspend the 18.4 cents per gallon federal gas tax through January 2023 in an effort to help Americans deal with rising inflation.
However, during her time in the state senate, Titus voted for legislation that would neutralize the effect any proposed gas tax would have on Nevada.
As the Nevada Independent reported:
But an existing law — that Titus voted in favor of while a state lawmaker in 1997 — automatically raises Nevada’s fuel tax by the exact amount of any reduction at the federal level. That means a proposal to reduce the federal gas tax by 18.4 cents per gallon through January 2023 wouldn’t reduce prices at the pump in the Silver State.
Titus voted yes on Nevada Senate Bill AB525 in 1997, which amended Nevada law to require an increase in the state’s gas tax “equal to the amount by which the federal tax is reduced” whenever Congress reduces the federal gas tax.
Nevada law now reads:
This tax must be imposed and will increase if the tax collected by the Federal Government pursuant to the provisions of 26 U.S.C. § 4081 or any other tax collected by the Federal Government relating to motor vehicle fuel is reduced or discontinued in whole or in part. The amount of the tax so imposed by this State must be equal to the amount by which the federal tax is reduced.
Titus defended her support of the 1997 bill, telling the Nevada Independent that the amendment applies to permanent reductions in federal gas taxes, not temporary ones like the bill she co-sponsored in Congress.
“If the measure passes, I believe it’d be the right decision for the Governor to declare a distinction between the two and allow the tax holiday to ease prices for consumers at the pump,” Titus told the Nevada Independent.
As of Thursday, Nevada’s average gas price is $4.13 per gallon, higher than the national average of $3.72 per gallon.
While inflation reaches its highest levels in over forty years, some economists consider Congressional Democrats’ efforts to address the situation too little too late. For example, Bloomberg described their efforts as “more of a political crutch than an inflation cure.”
Some economists believe the Democrats’ last-minute efforts could even harm the economy.
Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi said, “None of these ideas so far will help to a meaningful degree, and could do some harm because they could juice up demand at a time supply is constrained by the pandemic and worsen inflation.”
One of former President Barack Obama’s treasury officials believes the federal gas tax cut would not benefit a majority of consumers.
“The bulk of the tax cut will not be going to consumers in most parts of the country. We end up with the real benefit of the tax cut going to the refiners and the wholesalers and the distributors,” Gilbert Metcalf said.
Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.