Tax plan fuels talk of alternative vehicles


Vehicles fueled by alternative means — like hybrid or electric sources — wouldn’t bear the brunt of Clark County’s proposed fuel tax increase.

But don’t be looking for Commissioner Tom Collins to be cruising in a new-fangled vehicle — even if the fuel tax passes.

Commission Chairman Steve Sisolak brought up alternative vehicles on Tuesday, when commissioners were talking about the proposal, which would raise the county’s fuel tax by about 3 cents per gallon for each of the next three years.

Sisolak’s point was that those drivers wouldn’t have to pay the tax, while others would.

Collins made it clear that he is a diesel truck kind of a guy, even if it means going without a Wendy’s burger to keep gasoline in the tank.

“I’ll keep driving a Ford F-350 and putting that diesel in it instead of owning an electric car because that diesel will pull a lot more and do what it needs to do and that’s what America is about — having that choice,” Collins said.

To chuckles from the audience, he added, “I’ll give up a Wendy’s burger to make sure my truck gets out the ranch, so I think that’s what we all need to decide.”

— Ben Botkin

NO LABELS FOR HELLER

Hope springs for U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., and the roughly 80 or so members of the congressional rank-and-file who are part of a coalition that advertises itself as working toward a more efficient government and a more cooperative Congress.

Members of the “No Labels” organization introduced an agenda of nine bills Thursday, unveiling them after a rally on the Capitol grounds held in near triple-digit heat.

The bills include Heller’s “no budget, no pay,” that would cut off lawmakers’ paychecks when they miss deadlines to pass budgets and spending bills. A modified version was passed into law this year.

Among other things, the group also wants to get rid of duplicate programs, reduce energy waste in federal buildings and convert Congress to a two-year budgeting process, which proponents say would give lawmakers more time to conduct hearings into how federal programs actually work.

One bill seeks to merge electronic health care records kept by the Defense and Veterans Affairs departments, to simplify the delivery of veterans benefits.

While Heller plans to back most of the bills, aides said he is taking a critical look at one bill proposed by Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., that seeks to cut federal employee travel in half and replace it with increased uses of videoconferencing. Such a cut might affect government meetings in Las Vegas and Reno.

“Embracing the No Labels idea of making government work does not mean that Sen. Heller supports every piece of legislation in the package, but he does believe that Congress should find ways to work together,” his spokeswoman Chandler Smith said.

Heller was an early member of No Labels, which states its membership on Capitol Hill has tripled since the beginning of the year, but still is short of a critical mass and also lacks senior lawmakers or members of the leadership.

— Steve Tetreault

Contact Stephens Washington Bureau Chief Steve Tetreault at stetreault@stephensmedia.com or 202-783-1760. Follow him on Twitter @STetreaultDC. Contact reporter Ben Botkin at bbotkin@reviewjournal.com or 702-405-9781. Follow him on Twitter @BenBotkin1.

 

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