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    Democrats Propose New Gas Tax

    The measure would kick in after retailers' sales rise above what they call "a reasonable rate of return."

    A group of 14 U.S. House Democrats is proposing a major tax on profits from gasoline and diesel fuel sales that rise above what the government would consider "a reasonable rate of return."

    Aimed at halting "unreasonable" profiteering, U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), the bill's sponsor, said the rate of return would be determined by a three-person board appointed by the president. Revenue from the tax would fund tax credits for Americans who buy U.S.-made vehicles that generate at least 45 miles a gallon, the Associated Press reported.

    "Government has a moral responsibility when the market is being distorted," said Kucinich, an Ohio Democrat. "The way we exert our moral responsibility is to tax to the highest level -- at 100 percent."

    Kucinich's proposal comes as oil companies report record profits and President George W. Bush says the country is facing its most serious energy shortage in two decades. A similar bill proposed by Kucinich last year died in the Republican-controlled Ways and Means Committee.

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