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Strickland Still Pushing Tax Issue

August 15, 2000|MATT SURMAN

Despite the failure of a bill that would kill the state sales tax on gasoline, Assemblyman Tony Strickland (R-Thousand Oaks) is continuing to draw attention to the issue, appearing Monday with a 13-foot-tall mock gas pump named "Ethyl" at a Camarillo news conference.

"I get more calls to my office regarding gas prices than any other issue," Strickland said. "This is unfair, unjust and wrong."

Strickland blamed the failure of his bill four months ago on political partisanship and said that Democrats opposing the bill were out of touch with everyday people struggling with gas prices.

The assemblyman was joined by Ed Priola, executive director of Consumers Against the Fuel Tax, at a small demonstration at the Camarillo Premium Outlets. The gas pump was covered by signs, including one saying that state consumers had paid about $720 million in gas taxes so far this year.

Democratic opponents called Strickland's news conference a clear grab for publicity. "One way to appear to have success is to just keep talking about it, but that doesn't increase your results," said Bob Gallaway, former chairman of the Ventura County Democratic Central Committee.

Strickland's bill would have shaved about 15 cents in taxes for every gallon of gasoline and depleted state coffers of more than $1 billion a year.

Strickland and Priola plan to take the mock gas pump to the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles today.

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