July 22, 2008

DNC Gas Tax Break?--Update: DNC To Reimburse City

**Update--DNC host committee to reimburse city for tax-free gas at a "market rate" and pay the federal and state taxes--only after the program was revealed to the City Council and the public:
The committee hosting the Democratic National Convention has used the city's gas pumps to fill up and apparently avoided paying state and federal fuel taxes.

The practice, which began four months ago, may have ended hours after its disclosure. An aide to Mayor John Hickenlooper released a statement Tuesday evening saying that Denver 2008 Host Committee members would pay market prices for fuel and would also be liable for all applicable taxes.

However, Public Works spokeswoman Christine Downs told City Council members just hours before that host committee members were fueling up at the city pumps. The city does not pay taxes on the fuel for its fleet, and Downs said the host committee would not either.

The disclosure brought immediate scrutiny. Colorado Attorney General John Suthers said the practice "would seem" to be illegal and referred the matter to the state Department of Revenue.

Nonprofits, such as the host committee, are subject to state and federal gasoline taxes, according to the Department of Revenue.

The issue arose during the regular weekly meeting of Hickenlooper and City Council members. Downs requested authorization for a contract so the Public Works Department could be reimbursed by the host committee for use of "fueling facilities, fuel and car washes."
Your Democrats in action. If the program had not been revealed, the DNC's free pass on gas taxes would likely not have ended. It was probably clear to all involved that the arrangement was not only bad form, resulting in poor publicity at a time of record gas prices, but also quite illegal.

Just another example of what passes for judgment from Democrats in office.

DNC gets gas tax reprieve from Denver:
The committee hosting the Democratic National Convention is using the city's gas pumps to fill up on fuel, avoiding state and federal highway taxes, officials said today.

"There's something there that just doesn't seem right to me because, in a sense, you're saying then that the officials who pass the laws are not willing to live by them, and that concerns me," Councilwoman Jeanne Faatz said.
Hypocrisy? Perish the thought . . .
Faatz asked if it was customary to have "fleets for dignitaries" not pay for highway taxes if they're using government fuel facilities.

Hickenlooper said it was.

"I believe this is only for elected officials, government dignitaries," Hickenlooper told Faatz.

"My understanding is in Washington or wherever where this happens on a regular basis, that it's standard operating procedure. I do know for a fact that they're doing the same exact thing in Minneapolis," which is hosting the Republican National Convention, the mayor said.

"Hummmmm," Faatz said.

Hummmmm is right.

Teresa McFarland, a spokeswoman for the Minneapolis-St. Paul host committee, said they're getting their gas at the pump.

"We're not getting a tax break on fuel," she said. "That's not the set-up at this end."
Teflon John trots out the "everyone is doing it" argument, which is par for the course for politicians--and gets smacked down pronto.  That's leadership for you, folks.

Tax free for the DNC, but not for thee:
After the meeting, Faatz said it was wrong for the DNC host committee to get a tax break.

"I am just troubled by not having the payment of taxes for what I consider to be a privately funded party, and that's what the host committee is: it's a private organization," she said.

"The DNC is not government. The RNC is not government," said Faatz, who, at the time, had been told that the "same exact thing" was happening in Minneapolis-St. Paul. "They are political parties and they are putting on a huge party, and that is not providing services to each and every citizen each day."

In Colorado, consumers pay 40.4 cents in taxes on every gallon of gasoline. That includes the federal gasoline tax of 18.4 cents per gallon and the Colorado gasoline tax of 22 cents per gallon.

"If you've got a 14-gallon tank, on the average, that's about $5.66 that they don't have to pay for fill up," Councilman Charlie Brown said.
Democrats said it was all about "change," and with higher gas prices, the DNC's tax break amounts to a whole lot of change indeed.

It's not just City Council members who are "troubled" by the behavior of politicians in Denver, and the actions surrounding the Democratic National Convention in general. But it's the Dems giving other Dems a break, so it's ok, right?

Democrats are seeking to solidify and even expand their representation in 2008, hoping the DNC will bolster their electoral chances.  Gas tax breaks for the DNC--the new "ethics" brought to you by the Democrats.

Ed at Hot Air has more.

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