How do you spell relief? Repeal the Gas tax? 

Mr. Sali's (R-Kuna) proposal to temporarily eliminate the state tax on gas has got to be one of the dumbest ideas yet to come from him. Actually, I heard it didn't even come from him, but he sure jumped on it. Sure, eliminating the tax would save Idaho drivers some cash. The tax is fixed at around 24 cents a gallon as I recall. That would amount to about an 8 percent savings to consumers at current prices while robbing the state of $40 million dollars towards already planned maintenance on, and improvements to our highways. But hey, if we let our highways rot away everybody will have to drive slower, saving even more money.

If you need to save 8 percent, you can start by driving eight miles fewer for every 100. Or stop idling in the drive-thru--park and walk in. Or stop stomping on the accelerator and racing to the next red light. Or if you want 100 percnt savings, walk. Or get out your rusty old bike, light up a cigar, and ride to work. I just recently broke down and sold my low mileage van and got a sedan that gets over 20 percent better gas mileage. What do you drive, Mr. Sali?

An unintended side effect of artificially lowering the gas price by eliminating the tax will be the behavior of drivers. Lowering gas prices will encourage more of the same, or worse, an increase in consumption, something we don't need. If tax breaks are offered, they should be targeted at encouraging conservation of this valuable resource, like a tax rebate on economy cars. Or maybe applying the off-road vehicle tax break to people who have vehicles under 2,000 pounds. Imagine a so called conservative actually advocating conservation? Nah, ain't gonna happen.

Rather than eliminating the gas tax, maybe Mr. Sali should be looking at the taxes on heating fuel and electricity. Have you seen the rate increase there? These taxes are usually not fixed and will go up at the same rate as the price of the energy taxed. If your heating bill goes up 50 percent, so do your taxes. These taxes impact people in a far more direct way. Driving is not a life-and-death decision, but heating your house is.

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