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Massive tax bill includes little gas tax break

North Carolina drivers scarcely noticed when the state gas tax rose on July 1 by one-tenth of a penny per gallon. So they might not notice when the tax falls again in September to its June level.

The comprehensive tax overhaul legislation zooming through the General Assembly this week, which will have a big impact on income taxes, also includes a provision to reduce and freeze the gas tax, now 37.6 cents per gallon: It would be capped at 37.5 cents for almost two years -- from Sept. 1, 2013, through June 30, 2015.

GOP says not supporting fracking is an 'extreme agenda'

Democrats often use the word "extreme" to describe the Republican legislative agenda. But now Republicans are throwing it back at them. 

In one of the most over-the-top mailers so far, state GOP sent attacking Democratic House candidate Jim Messina said he "supports an extreme agenda that rejects modern scientific fact and will ultimately kill economic expansion in North Carolina." The GOP put a colander on Messina's head to make him look like a crazy conspiracy theorist. (Click below for flyer.)

Obama campaign: Oil companies, speculators to blame for rising gas prices

The North Carolina Obama campaign said Tuesday that the administration had worked to make energy more available, and blamed rising prices on oil companies and speculators.

Democratic Congressman Brad Miller, speaking as a surrogate for the campaign, said there is more domestic oil production than at any time in the past eight years and more natural gas production than the nation has ever had.

“North Carolina voters know where the responsibility really lies,” Miller said in a teleconference. “They place the blame with the oil companies. They place the blame with speculators and they know perfectly well there has been an extraordinary effort in the Obama administration to increase energy production.''

Oil industry ad campaign hits Obama, Kay Hagan

The oil industry is targeting North Carolina voters as part of a campaign to fight efforts in Congress to repeal some of its tax breaks.

The American Petroleum Institute announced a campaign last week to convince voters that higher taxes on the industry could lead to higher gas prices. The campaign calls it "another bad idea from Washington," particularly hitting President Barack Obama and North Carolina U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, a Democrat.

As part of the campaign, the industry took a full-page advertisement in The Charlotte Observer and a radio advertisement (listen here).

News reports indicate the U.S. Senate is scheduled to vote on the oil tax breaks Monday and it's unclear if Democrats have the votes to repeal the incentives, which are destined for renewable energy tax credits.

What candidate Barack Obama had to say about gas prices in N.C. in 2008

The Republicans are attempting to make raising gas prices an issue in the presidential election. With President Obama in Florida Thursday talking about energy, the Republican National Comittee sent along this clip of what candidate Obama had to say about gas prices not rising when he campaigned in Winston-Salem in 2008

Gas tax to rise Jan. 1

The state's gas tax is going up 3.9 cents a gallon on Jan. 1, reports Bruce Siceloff.  It'll be at an all-time high of 38.9 cents a gallon.

Read all about it here. There's even a gas-prices graph.

Hagan talks about rising gas prices

Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan this afternoon asked the Obama Administration to speed up efforts to crack down on price gouging and illegal speculation on the oil market.

At a news conference at the Farmer's Market, said the rising gas prices were hurting businesses and consumers.

“From the restaurant owner facing rising food prices, to the local trucking company and farmer who are struggling to keep up with increasing fuel costs, small businesses are feeling the pinch,” Hagan wrote in a letter to the White House.

“For North Carolina families and seniors living on a fixed income, as well as our substantial military and veteran communities, this increase hits at a terrible time and threatens to disrupt our continued economic recovery,” she wrote.

Last week, President Barack Obama crated a Oil and Gas Price Fraud Working Group to report recommendations before the July 4th holiday. Hagan called on the White House to provide the recommendations prior to the holiday.

Robocall targets Hagan on drilling

A new robocall targets Kay Hagan on offshore drilling.

Freedom's Watch, a Washington-based conservative advocacy group, is making automated calls to North Carolina voters about the Democratic Senate candidate's stance on energy.

"Do you think we should return to the energy policies of the 1970s, with Americans facing skyrocketing energy costs and increasing reliance on foreign oil?" a male narrator says. "Kay Hagan apparently does. Her energy plan uses Jimmy Carter's failed policy of 30 years ago!"

The robocall also says that Hagan opposed "new domestic energy production" that would make the U.S. less reliant on foreign oil.

Hagan opposed offshore drilling this summer, but she switched positions in August, backing a Senate bill that would lift the ban as part of a broader package to promote alternative energy and conservation.

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole previously opposed offshore drilling in North Carolina, but switched positions in June and also backed the compromise bill.

After the jump, the script.

Freedom's Watch on oil

Poll: Majority favor drilling

A poll by Elon University found that 69 percent of North Carolina residents support offshore drilling. Another 26 percent are opposed.

The poll also found that 67 percent believe gas prices would fall within a decade, Barb Barrett reports.

"People in North Carolina clearly believe that offshore oil drilling would reduce the pain they feel at the gasoline pump and may agree with any initiative to lift the ban that’s in place," said Hunter Bacot, director of the Elon University poll.

Here’s the breakdown, according to the poll, of respondents saying when they thought prices would be affected by offshore drilling:

— Immediately to less than one year: 14 percent.

— One to five years: 29 percent.

— Six to 10 years: 24 percent.

— Will never affect gas prices: 6 percent.

More after the jump.

Hagan's position on offshore drilling

Kay Hagan supports the Gang of 20 legislation.

The Democratic Senate candidate originally opposed lifting a federal ban on offshore drilling in the United States, as did her Republican opponent, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole.

Hagan switched positions in August, backing a Senate bill that would lift the ban as part of a broader package to promote alternative energy and conservation.

Spokeswoman Colleen Flanagan noted that the bill would leave the decision on drilling in North Carolina up to the state. She said Hagan would support drilling here if the governor and the legislature decide to allow it.

In late July, the Transylvania Times reported that Hagan did not support drilling here.

"She said some oil drilling is necessary, but not off the coast of North Carolina," the newspaper wrote.

But Flanagan said that the story predated Hagan's decision to endorse the Gang of 20 bill and no longer represents her views.

"If the governor and the legislature decide to allow drilling, Kay would support that," she said.

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