The City of Denver, which is hosting the Democratic National Convention next month was apparently providing DNC committee members with the ability to fill their gas tanks on taxpayer dime at city’s gas pumps – by letting them skip paying state and federal gas taxes.
The Rocky Mountain News reported:
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 mayor’s office is trying to play this off as though the RNC was getting a similar break in Minneapolis (where the Republican National Convention will be held), but the RNC is paying the tax on fuel just as any other taxpayer.
The excuse given by the DNC for using the city’s tax free pumps is. “We know the gas is not tainted. We use it as a safety and security measure.”
There is no record of tainted gas in or around Denver and no reports of any threat to Denver residents when filling up at the local privately owned gas stations.