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Cutting the Federal Deficit

March 30, 1986

James Flanigan in his March 25 column says the call for an oil-import tax is to protect exploration by U.S. companies for new reserves. A carefully and fairly drafted tax on oil imports or on gasoline at the pump should be imposed without delay, but not merely to enable ongoing exploration by U.S. companies. The dozens of billions thus reaped, or a hefty part of it, should be directly applied toward reduction of the federal deficit.

With oil and gasoline prices as low as they now are, the "hurt" to commercial and individual consumers from a substantial tax would be an expense which all could manage. The low prices we hope to enjoy for another year provide us with a fine opportunity for slashing the deficit. We shouldn't let it pass.

President Reagan has said he might support some form of oil-import tax, but not if the revenue derived is used for deficit reduction. I am hard-pressed to understand that. How could there be a use for such a giant windfall that is more sane or constructive?

MARCUS M. HOOD

Los Angeles

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