CARSON CITY — After hours of debate on a bill to raise Nevada’s taxes on diesel fuel by 12 cents per gallon, the state Senate Taxation Committee voted Thursday to kill the plan.
“You chickens,” Taxation Chairman Bob Coffin, D-Las Vegas, said after he cast the only vote for his SB368. “That bill is dead.”
But the proposal may come back later in the legislative session as “part of a larger (tax) package,” said Sen. Terry Care, D-Las Vegas, who made the motion to kill Coffin’s SB368.
Coffin had a pile of cost-allocation studies, dating back to 1984, which he said proved that trucks don’t pay their fair share of taxes, based on the damage they do to roads and the taxes they pay compared with cars.
Coffin, who tried unsuccessfully to pass a similar tax measure two years ago, said that light cars cause minimal damage to roads, and they pay a greater share of road maintenance than they should.
“Everybody knows that. But why haven’t we reacted?” Coffin asked. “Why have we done what the lobbyists of the trucking industry have said all these years? Why haven’t we raised their taxes? Or done something smarter, which is to create a weight-distance study?”
Nevada Department of Transportation representatives said that by 2016 the department would be nearly $6 billion short of the revenue it needs to maintain roads.
Carole Vilardo of the Nevada Taxpayers Association said she supported this type of tax in the past, but would not now.
“The best way to make changes is to make adjustments when times are good,” Vilardo said. “And we don’t do that.”