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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Pump pain pill

 John Gregg wants to give us a break at the gas pump:

The Democratic candidate for governor told The Times on Tuesday he's working on a plan to eliminate Indiana's 7 percent sales tax on gasoline, which makes up about 25 cents of the price of each gallon.

"There's some help we can give, and I think it's important that we try to do that because it's causing Hoosiers to suffer," Gregg said. "When gas gets to $4 a gallon, it crimps Hoosiers' pocketbooks, and it has resulted in a windfall to the state."

Indiana sales tax collections in February were $11 million more than February 2011, in part because gasoline sold for an additional 50 cents a gallon this year. The state also has $1.7 billion in reserve.

Gregg is talking about ending the sales tax on gas, not just suspending it for a time as some politicians have done in the past, which means we can take it as a serious proposition and not just a campaign stunt. But I tend to like this idea better:

U.S. Rep. Mike Pence, the Republican candidate for governor, said he's "not opposed to lifting the sales tax" but would prefer Indiana enact "across-the-board tax relief that will encourage investment and create jobs."

As with any tax-cut idea, the question that always needs to be asked is: What will you do about the resulting reduction in revenue -- decide to spend less or try to make it up somewhere else?