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LEAVITT SHORTSIGHTED ON GAS TAX

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The Republicans complain that Democrats "tax and spend, tax and spend." But the Republican governor, Mike Leavitt, has imposed a gasoline tax to spend on the highways. That's all right, governor. The public knows that, once in a while, it is necessary to tax and spend.

It is the duty of government to raise taxes - when necessary. It is also the duty of government to keep those taxes as low as possible. The governor was right by imposing the gas tax. He missed the boat on keeping the tax low. He says he doesn't believe in imposing a tax until it is necessary. When is that, governor? Is it the moment you see the problem - your first year in office, you say? Or is it when the problem gets serious? I'm sorry, governor, but you have been short-sighted.Now he discovers that it will be more expensive than he thought. He is going to raise the tax one cent a year for the next 10 years. Assuming he stays in office that long, in the last year, the tax will be raised a whopping ten cents a gallon. Wouldn't it be easier on the taxpayers to spread the tax out to one five-cent raise for the entire ten year span? And after the tenth year, is the tax suddenly going to disappear? Think about it.

Gov. Leavitt is a nice guy and he's done some good. But if he had been bolder, he would have been a really great governor.

Leon Johnson

Salt Lake City