Florida Governor Ron DeSantis isn’t standing on the sidelines while inflation eats away at Americans’ wallets. He has a plan to help Floridians bear the burden of out-of-control gas prices: a “tax holiday” temporarily suspending the state’s gas tax.
Relief is sorely needed. Despite the Biden administration’s repeated protestations that inflation wouldn’t happen, the latest inflation data show 7% price increases between December 2020 and December 2021. Gas prices saw the biggest increase of all, up nearly 50% over just one year.
Prices are out of control.
ESPECIALLY gas prices. pic.twitter.com/wAuYBMmAH9
— Brad Polumbo 🇺🇸⚽️ 🏳️🌈 (@brad_polumbo) January 16, 2022
DeSantis’s answer to this problem is the aforementioned suspension in Florida’s gas tax, to the tune of $1 billion in waived taxes on fuel. The governor says his proposal, if enacted by the legislature, would save the average Florida family $200.
“Gas prices have been rising due to inflationary pressures from bad federal policies, so we here in Florida need to step up and provide relief to our citizens,” DeSantis said. “Today, I am proposing that during session, the Florida Legislature provide more than $1 billion in gas tax relief for Florida families. This will have a positive impact on millions of Floridians.”
Florida business leaders in the energy industry praised the proposal.
“This is an incredible way to give back to everyday Floridians,” said Daily’s CEO Aubrey Edge.
“This gas tax relief is going to make it right back to the customer… and we are happy to be a part of it,” Buc-ee’s President Arch Applin III concurred.
Tax Foundation Senior State Tax Policy Analyst Tim Vermeer had a more measured view of the policy proposal.
“A gas tax holiday is a reasonable tax relief approach,” Vermeer told BASEDPolitics. “Don’t expect it to create long-term economic growth, but to the extent that it lowers gas prices in the short-run it will provide a marginal measure of inflation relief to Floridians. However, given Florida’s current revenue forecasts, the state is in a good position to provide some permanent relief in addition to some temporary relief.”
Vermeer added that he does not believe Florida should consider permanently doing away with its gas tax. “The gas tax functions similarly to a user fee for roads and other vehicle-centric infrastructure, and many states’ gas taxes—including Florida’s—already fail to cover the entirety of those infrastructure expenses.”
Complex policy debates aside, Floridians—and all Americans—are desperate for gas prices to return to normal and stop eating away their paychecks. Voters will likely appreciate any move from their governors that hastens that outcome.