Can we afford gas, Can we afford no gas?

Regarding the article “Plan to cut R.I. gas tax receives sluggish response” (9/15/05), what are the long-term plans for our state’s budget? After all, many people, organizations and the governor have rightfully called for more fuel efficient cars. This is not a partisan or political letter-to-the-editor, but an open question that affects us all. If, as the article stated, “Rhode Island relies heavily on the $142.8 million” which we receive from the gas tax, then what will we do as more and more people buy hybrid-cars and engines hopefully become more and more efficient. Consumers will need less and less gas, and the state will collect less and less taxes. Compounding the problem, the state also receives a hefty income form the cigarette tax. Many call for people to stop smoking, but what happens to state revenue when a critical mass of people do, in fact, stop smoking and stop buying as much gasoline?

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