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Gas tax increase foes launch ad blitz

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HUDSON — Residents are still feeling pain at the pump, so Pasco Republican leaders are urging “Ax the Tax” in a campaign against a proposed 5-cent increase per gallon in county gasoline taxes.

“The people can’t afford this tax,” Pasco Republican State Committeeman Bill Bunting said Thursday.

The Pasco Republican Party bought newspaper ads to contest the gas tax increase, Bunting said. In addition, at least 120 commercials will air on various cable TV channels on the Bright House system.

“Ax the Tax” yard signs are also being employed.

The GOP voted Aug. 15 on a resolution stating opposition to the proposal.

About one-third of roads here are rated fair or poor condition, Pasco officials have argued. Budget cuts during the recession could result in a shortfall of more than $4.1 million in the road maintenance budget for the next fiscal year.

A typical resident here might wind up paying $70 more a year if a higher county gas tax and a bump in the property tax rate are passed, county officials said during an appearance last week at the West Pasco Board of Realtors.

“That’s baloney,” Bunting scoffed at county figures. The gas tax increase would cost Pasco residents an $90 a year, he estimates.

Business owners have told Bunting they would have to pass along higher fuel costs to their customers.

Bunting predicts some political fallout for Pasco commissioners, all of whom are Republicans, if they approve the gas tax increase. At least four of the five commissioners must vote in favor for the gas tax increase to be approved.

The county commission public hearing on the gas tax will be held Tuesday, Sept. 10,, in Dade City.

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