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I stand behind my support of the gas tax

I knew it was just a matter of time before a Hitler reference was made under a column I wrote. I was just surprised it came with the editorial supporting the gas tax increase.

Oh yeah, I was also told to “F***” myself by the same commenter.

I have taken a few hits from readers who are vehemently opposed to increasing taxes of any kind, no matter the need, no matter the benefit.

But I stand by my reasoning.

Drive many of the back roads in Pahrump and Nye County and you will encounter less-than-ideal conditions. I would rather pay 60 cents more per trip to the pump than whatever the cost would be to fix my blown tire after hitting a pothole. Or adjust my alignment. Or fix a busted axle. Or just the general wear and tear that happens to cars on poorly-maintained roads. That is $62 at the pump in a year (I fill up twice a week) or much, much more at the dealership.

To refresh the issue, in my column last Wednesday, “Time to support a county gas tax increase,” I urged public support for the first gas tax increase since 1985. For 30 years the county gas tax has sat at 4 cents per gallon. To me, that is ridiculous. The county’s roads have expanded and cars have become more efficient, resulting in fewer trips to the pump by consumers.

The suggested 5-cent gas tax increase, the highest that can be implemented without a vote of the residents, was proposed by Commissioner Dan Schinhofen on Aug. 4.

The current 4 cents is projected to generate $838,000 in revenue to maintain the county’s 2,747 miles of roads, including bridges. That includes maintaining signage, traffic signals, plowing roads in winter and repairing flood damage every summer. The full 5-cent increase would put an additional $1.1 million in the road fund coffers, projecting revenue at $1.9 million annually.

I even pointed out a big share of the tax burden would be absorbed by tourists and out-of-towners, as 37.9 percent of all gallons sold in Nye County are along the U.S. Highway 95 corridor. Add in the number of gallons sold to visitors in Pahrump along Highway 160, and nonresidents would carry a big load of the increase.

I did agree with another commenter under my story who said, “But the people want the county to fix the road FOR FREE … Wave a wand and conjure the money out of thin air.”

Arnold M. Knightly is the editor of the Pahrump Valley Times

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