Dem governors join to push pause on gas tax plans as prices spike out of control

Anyone who owns a vehicle that runs on gasoline is aware that the pain at the pump is only getting worse, but six Democratic governors are proposing a way to prevent further disaster.

Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, Jared Polis of Colorado, Tim Waltz of Minnesota, Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania, Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico, and Tony Evers of Wisconsin are pushing their “Gas Tax Relief Act” and noted in a letter to Congress that prices are already painful enough.

“At a time when people are directly impacted by rising prices on everyday goods, a federal gas tax holiday is a tool in the toolbox to reduce costs for Americans, and we urge you to give every consideration to this proposed legislation,” they proposed.

In their letter, they recognized that gas prices had spiked to $4.173, which is a high that surpasses even the summer of 2008. Their legislation would temporarily suspend the 18.3 cents per gallon gas tax collection until the beginning of next year, January 1, 2023.

However, despite their protestations, the Federation of Tax Administrators noted that five of the six states from which these governors come actually impose additional gas taxes on their citizens. Pennsylvania has the highest tax in the entire country with 57.6 cents per gallon. Wisconsin tacks on an additional 30.9 cents per gallon, and Minnesota comes in third at 28.5 cents. Michigan adds 27.2 cents and Colorado piles on an extra 22 cents, while New Mexico comes in at just below the federal tax at 17 cents per gallon.

Perhaps driving their leadership on the issue, five of the six governors (Wolf of Pennsylvania being the exception) are up for re-election in 2022. Wolf’s stint as governor is term-limited.

Governor Kathy Hochul of New York, a state which currently boasts the highest gas prices at $4.431 per gallon according to AAA, claims that she has “looked very closely” at a similar proposal to suspend the state’s 48 cents per gallon gas tax.

“If we reduce the taxes, now we have funding dedicated towards transit, the MTA downstate, roads and bridges upstate. So if you can ensure that that money is actually going to end up in the pockets of consumers, it has my attention,” Hochul said. “I don’t have any way to guarantee that the savings from not having to pay 10 cents, or 18 cents, or 20 cents per gallon is going to end up in the consumers’ pockets, if it’s going to be absorbed in those few increases. So I’m being very thoughtful about this. I understand we need to do everything we can to relieve the pressure for our consumers.”

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