The Senate's plan to repeal a gasoline tax would saddle "hardworking Americans" with a "20-year tax on bank deposits," the American Bankers Association warned in full-page newspaper ads over the weekend and Monday.

Senate Majority Leader Robert Dole is pushing for a vote today on plans to use budget revenue from the Savings Association Insurance Fund capitalization to offset the cost of repealing a 4.3 cents per gallon tax on gasoline.

The ABA tried to convince lawmakers that the plan would create long-term pain and only short-term relief from rapidly rising fuel prices. "Gassing up today could cost Americans a lot more tomorrow," the ABA argued in The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal.

The ABA is fighting the thrift fund capitalization because it would force banks to assume $600 million in annual payments through 2017 on bonds used to bail out the thrift industry in the late 1980s. Thrifts also would pay a one-time assessment to capitalize their insurance fund.

The cost of the bond payments would be passed to customers, creating a "new, hidden tax on anyone who has a bank deposit," the ABA ads state.

Budget revenue from the thrift fund rescue would offset the $2.8 billion cost of repealing the gasoline tax through the end of 1996.

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