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Q&A: Gas tax, Israeli army, restaurant opening

Florida's gas tax

How much is Florida's tax on gasoline, and how does it compare with other states?

At 54.4 cents per gallon, Florida has the 11th highest gasoline tax in the United States, according to April numbers from the American Petroleum Institute. The breakdown is 36 cents levied by the state and 18.4 cents by the federal government.

California has the highest tax, at 71.3 cents a gallon, followed by New York (68.3), Connecticut (67.7), Hawaii (66.5), Pennsylvania (60.2), Michigan (59.8), Indiana (59.2), Illinois (57.5), North Carolina (56.2) and Washington (55.9). The lowest tax is in Alaska, at 30.8 cents a gallon.

Florida's neighbors have significantly lower gasoline taxes: Georgia's is 45.9 cents, and Alabama's is 39.3 cents.

Americans in Israeli army

I read that two Americans were killed while serving in the Israeli Defense Forces. I always thought that a person lost U.S. citizenship if they served in the armed forces of a foreign power or in the service of a country at war with the United States. Did those killed while serving in the IDF lose their U.S. citizenship?

Max Steinberg and Sean Carmeli, who died recently in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, had dual citizenship with the U.S. and Israel. It's legal for U.S. citizens to serve in foreign military forces and they usually will not lose their citizenship if they join those forces, including the IDF and French Foreign Legion, the U.S. State Department told the Washington Post.

The State Department encourages U.S. citizens to avoid serving in a foreign military, if possible, but sometimes service is compulsory, such as in Israel. "Military service by U.S. nationals may cause problems in the conduct of our foreign relations since such service may involve U.S. nationals in hostilities against countries with which we are at peace," State Department officials told the paper.

However, U.S. citizens in "voluntary" military service of a "state engaged in hostilities against the United States could be viewed as indicative of an intention to relinquish U.S. nationality." Steinberg, 24, was from Southern California and Carmeli, 21, grew up in Texas, but his parents were from Israel, and he finished high school there.

A restaurant opening

Whatever happened with the Shucker's Restaurant that was due to open in Clearwater Beach in May?

According to a post on the Shucker's Seafood Grille Facebook page, the restaurant's Clearwater Beach location at 752 S Gulfview Blvd. should open in 4-6 weeks. You can check the company's Facebook page (Shucker's Clearwater Beach) for updates. The restaurant's phone number is 727-688-8140.

Compiled from Times and wire reports. To submit a question, email jbooth@tampabay.com.

Q&A: Gas tax, Israeli army, restaurant opening 07/31/14 [Last modified: Thursday, July 31, 2014 3:17pm]
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