Candidates take on gas tax

Candidates take on gas tax

Democratic presidential hopefuls Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton focused much of their campaigning in Indiana and North Carolina on a debate over whether the government should waive an 18.4-cents per gallon gasoline tax. Voters in the two states cast their ballots in primaries Tuesday.

Clinton supports a plan to suspend the tax for the summer as a way to help consumers cope with soaring gasoline prices, which hit a record $3.623 a gallon on Thursday. Obama has called Clinton’s plan a gimmick, saying it would save drivers relatively little. A number of economists are also skeptical of such a plan.

Sen. McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, was the first presidential candidate to call for suspending the federal gas tax this summer, although his plan differs in some ways from Clinton’s proposal.

President George W. Bush, meanwhile, said the rising cost of gas “troubles me a lot” because it is “like a tax on the working people.” He said he will look at ways to ease the burden, but acknowledged that the run-up has “been a while in the making and it’s going to be a while that we solve the problem.”

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