Who Could Vote Against Cheap Gas?

A proposed gas-tax holiday means it may be cheaper to get to all those state facilities closed due to lack of funds.

With gas prices heading up to $3 a gallon, Texans may be getting a quick, temporary tax break. Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, D-San Antonio, has slipped a 90-day gas-tax holiday through the House, knocking off 20 cents per gallon if it passes.

He bolted it on as an amendment to Senate Bill 1886, a complicated slab of legislation that clarified the convoluted laws of who was liable to pay gas tax, where, and when. That's clarify, not cut.

"Gas tax relief in my district will provide many families with a greater savings this summer than property tax cuts," said Martinez in a press release. Sadly, this is slightly disingenuous: While it may be true that a gas-tax cut will be friendlier to more people than a property-tax slash that benefits only the wealthiest home owners, this isn't either/or. There's little doubt that the massive rebates will be coming out of the budget over the next two sessions.

While it's the kind of bill that any legislator would find it hard to have voted against come re-election time, it may not be without enemies in the other chamber. Sen. Eliot Shapleigh, D-El Paso, is a big proponent of index-linking the gas tax, a move which has gained some traction in the influential Senate Transportation and Homeland Security Committee. It will be interesting to see how Shapleigh's fellow committee member, and original bill author, Sen. Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands, responds to this change, It's also likely to get hackles raised in the Finance Conference Committee, where balancing the budget is going to prove hard enough even before they had an unplanned estimated $750 million go out of the kitty.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

State Government, Legislature, Transportation, Gas-tax holiday, Trey Martinez Fischer, Eliot Shapleigh

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