Wednesday, May 23, 2007

House presses Senate on gas tax holiday

By JAKE BATSELL / The Dallas Morning News - Wednesday, May 23, 2007

AUSTIN – A summer reprieve from soaring gas prices is still in limbo, but the Texas House gave it an extra push Tuesday.

Earlier this month, House members approved a three-month suspension of the 20-cents-per-gallon state gas tax, arguing that Texas drivers need a break from record prices at the pump. The measure would cost as much as $700 million.

The Senate has offered a chilly reception because of the price tag.

On Tuesday, Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, D-San Antonio, won a 137-0 vote from his colleagues to keep pressing for the gas tax holiday.

Now it's up to a 10-member conference committee to sort out the gas tax holiday's fate.

Sen. Florence Shapiro, R-Plano, said that adding a $700 million item is "not feasible" this late in the legislative session.

"All of us would love to be able to do something about our gasoline tax," Ms. Shapiro said. "We are seeing the numbers just escalating exponentially every day. But that's not the way to do it, just decide midstream that you're going to stop getting money from the tax. ... I would hope that cooler heads will prevail."
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