Monday, May 5, 2008

Hillary Opposed Cutting Gas Tax During her Senate Campaign

Once again Hillary Clinton gets caught in a flip flop. She opposed or remained silent on cutting the gasoline tax that her husband had put into place, back when she was running for the Senate in 2000:

Republican politicians trained their scopes on spiraling gasoline prices yesterday, with Mayor Giuliani blaming the Clinton administration and state Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno calling for an end to the state tax on gasoline and diesel fuel.

Giuliani traveled to a gas station in Bedford, Westchester County, where he backed Bruno's call for eliminating the gas tax and took a slap at Vice President Gore by referring to the federal gas levy as the "Gore tax."

In recent days, First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, the mayor's Democratic rival in the Senate race, has linked herself with Gore. Polls project the vice president will handily pull more New York votes in November than GOP presidential candidate George W. Bush.

Bruno, citing a growing state revenue surplus, said in Albany that he will fight to wipe out the state tax on gas effective May 1 in a move that would save New Yorkers $200 million this year and more in future years.

In response, Gov. Pataki said he favors cutting the tax but questioned the practicality of Bruno's plan, "given the spending demands that are out there."

"What it means is we will have less money for the spending programs," Pataki said.

He noted that state legislators are up for reelection this year and said there is a tendency for them to try to "be all things to all people."

Bruno, who made his pitch for eliminating the tax without first running it past the governor, topped a plan touted by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a Democrat, that would eliminate the gas sales tax in New York for two months.

Under the Bruno plan, drivers would save 8 cents a gallon for gas that costs at least $2 a gallon - and some stations, such as the one found by Giuliani, are already there.

The Clinton administration, including Hillary were accused of being elitists just as she is accusing those who opposed the gas holiday:
"The Clinton-Gore administration's energy policy - I think the nicest thing I can say about it is it's unfocused. I think the word 'feckless' would apply," Giuliani said.

"Obviously, President Clinton, Vice President Gore and Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson are out of touch with what is going on in America," the mayor added. "The price is already above $2 a gallon."

Bruno said the state is so flush with new revenue "from the bonuses on Wall Street" that it can easily afford to kill the gas tax.

She called eliminating the gas tax a "serious error":
In the fourth day of her Senate campaign tour through upstate New York, Mrs. Clinton rejected as ''a serious error'' any move to eliminate the gasoline tax, a proposal advocated by her Republican rival, Representative Rick A. Lazio.

''I reject my opponent's proposal of eliminating the gas tax,'' Mrs. Clinton said at a news conference earlier today in Rochester. ''One of the few sources of revenue that we actually get more of than we send to Washington is gas tax money for our transportation needs. It would be hard to imagine how upstate can finish all the work we need to do without the federal help that comes from transportation dollars.''

On the investigation into gasoline prices, Mrs. Clinton said that it was imperative for the commission to ''go beyond where it has already begun to try to figure out why, while fuel costs have gone up over 50 cents in New York, profits for major oil companies have gone up more than 500 percent.''

No economist supports her proposal. And its not because they are elitists but because its a dumb idea:
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Sunday dismissed the "elite opinion" of economists who criticized her gas tax proposal, using a term that has dogged rival Barack Obama in recent weeks.

Obama, meanwhile, accused the New York senator of pandering on gas taxes and saber rattling toward Iran as both candidates gave television interviews before primary contests in North Carolina and Indiana. The two are battling to be their party's nominee to face Republican John McCain in November's election.

[...]"I'm not going to put my lot in with economists," Clinton said when asked to name an economist who backed her proposal.

"We've got to get out of this mind-set where somehow elite opinion is always on the side of doing things that really disadvantage the vast majority of Americans," said Clinton, a former first lady who would be the first woman president.

- [news flash]: Economist Robert Reich, who was the Labor Secretary during the Clinton administration, just called (on the Morning Joe show) the gas tax Holiday proposed by Hillary a "gimmick."