Bill Clinton on Gas Taxes: He Raised ‘Em in ’93, then Opposed a “Vacation” in 2000

By Saira Anees

May 5, 2008 1:09pm

In 1993, newly-elected President Bill Clinton raised gas taxes 4.3 cents a gallon.

Bob Dole tried to get that repealed, to no avail, in 1996.

Said then-White House chief of staff Leon Panetta then: "In an election year, it is hard to separate speeches from serious proposals."

In 2000, Clinton was asked at a press conference "in light of the fact that OPEC has decided to increase production, do you see it as a mistake for the Senate to proceed with a bill that would suspend the gas tax? And if it reached your desk, would you veto it?"

His answer — no. he wasn’t sure the savings would be passed on to consumers. (And this is without a windfall profits tax on oil companies, as Sen. Clinton has proposed. Economists forecast that oil companies would pass on a new tax on oil companies to the consumer.)

"I don’t expect it to reach my desk because there seems to be bipartisan opposition to it in the House, including among the leadership," he said. "But the problem I have with it, apart from what it might do to the Highway Trust Fund and the spending obligations that have already been incurred by the acts of Congress, the budgets, is that I’m not sure that the savings would be passed along to the consumers in addition to that. So I think there are a lot of questions about it."

The record-setting gas prices right now of course make the situations in 1993, 2000, and 2008 different. But it is interesting to once again compare the record of the administration from which Sen. Clinton claims her experience with her proposals today.

If people are hurting from gas taxes now, after all…

– jpt

You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus