CEDAR RAPIDS – Reports that the Democratic National Convention’s host committee and staff have avoided paying state and federal fuel taxes “could go a long way toward explaining why that party’s leadership has failed to approve an energy policy that lowers prices for hard-working families and hard-pressed businesses, GOP congressional candidate Mariannette Miller-Meeks said during a tour of the Clipper Windpower, a wind turbine manufacturer.
The practice of filling up at Denver city government pumps and avoiding the fuel taxes had been going on four months but the practice was ended hours after it was disclosed Tuesday. Democratic Mayor John Hickenlooper’s office said the Democrats would pay market prices for fuel going forward. Colorado’s attorney general said the practice appeared to be illegal and the matter was immediately referred to the state’s Department of Revenue.
“I agree with the Denver city councilwoman who said there’s something not right about that situation and that it means the officials who pass the laws are not willing to live by them,” Miller-Meeks said today. “They clearly think the rules do not apply to them. That’s important to Iowans in the Second District because the incumbent, Dave Loebsack, has fallen right in with that crowd. ”
In Colorado, working families and businesses pay 40.4 cents per gallon in state and federal fuel taxes. The tax-free gas the Democrats have pumped for themselves would save about $5.65 per 14-gallon tank.
“The rest of us would appreciate that kind of savings every time we have to go to the gas pump. We could get there if we had a Congress that would encourage domestic oil exploration and really support alternative fuel sources,” Miller-Meeks said. “Instead, we have a congressman whose solution to the energy crisis is to sponsor a tax break for people who ride their bicycles to work. Try doing that in rural Iowa in December. We need someone in Congress representing Iowa who is in touch with the realities of everyday life here.”
She added, “It’s time Dave Loebsack stood up for the things he told voters he believes in. He said he was for ethical government. He could start by rejecting his own party’s tax dodge. “
In addition to advocating for more oil drilling in the United States, including oil-rich northern Alaska, Miller-Meeks also supports the T. Boone Pickens’ strategy to significantly reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil by creating more wind energy sources and then shifting U.S. natural gas supplies to fuel cars, trucks and other vehicles. The plan would reduce U.S. oil imports by nearly 40 percent within 10 years and save American consumers $300 billion a year at current fuel prices.
Noting the critical role that Clipper Windpower can play in a comprehensive energy strategy and America’s economic security, Miller-Meeks said, “We can either keep the current Congress that continues to feed voters empty election year rhetoric or we elect new people who offer real, lasting solutions. We need to have more domestic drilling but that’s also a temporary solution with environmental consequences. Pursuing clean, renewable energy sources such as wind, is essential to developing a lasting energy policy, which lowers prices, protects the environment, and reduces our dependence on foreign oil.”
Miller-Meeks said she would work in Congress for policies and laws that encourage a full range of alternative energy production in the Second District to create good-paying jobs for Iowans and reduce the amount paid for out-of-state and foreign energy.
“I have a plan and a focus,” Miller-Meeks said. “I’ve been talking a comprehensive energy policy throughout this campaign. Mr. Loebsack doesn’t even have his stances on the issues on his website. The residents of the Second District who are paying nearly four dollars for a gallon of gas and more than that for diesel deserve to know, ‘What is your plan, Mr. Loebsack?’”
Miller-Meeks, an Ottumwa ophthalmologist and former University of Iowa faculty member, has more than 24 years of service in the U.S. Army and Army Reserve. The Second Congressional District includes 15 counties: Appanoose, Cedar, Davis, Des Moines, Henry, Jefferson, Johnson, Lee, Linn, Louisa, Muscatine, Van Buren, Wapello, Washington and Wayne.