Will California Heed Biden’s State Gas Tax Vacation Petition?

President Joe Biden on Wednesday called on Congress to suspend the federal gas tax for the summer, then turned around and asked states to do the same — or find other ways to ease the pain of consumers at the pump from rising prices. .

Biden’s petition puts pressure on California politicians who have rejected a state gas tax holiday and whose proposed option to give some cash back discounts to consumers won’t be feasible until the earliest fall.

But it was unclear whether Republican lawmakers proposed, or at least move faster, the president’s call from his own party to reconsider suspending the 51-cent gallon state tax for a few months. And whether or not that will inspire a Democratic-controlled legislature. Some other kind of relief for drivers who are seeing their hard-earned dollars flowing into their gas tanks for more than $6 per gallon.

Newsom and Democratic lawmakers have repeatedly rejected the idea of ​​a state gas tax holiday, arguing that there would be no guarantee that companies would pass on the savings from the suspended tax to consumers. But the proposed gas tax suspensions in California and those implemented in several other states contain language that would require savings in pump prices.

Assemblyman Kevin Kelly, R-Granite Bay, a congressional candidate whose proposal to suspend California’s gas tax is gathering dust, said on Wednesday that “evidence suggests that gas tax holidays in other states are giving consumers real savings.” Giving.”

“Even the president is now finally recognizing that this is the best way to bring relief to struggling families,” Kelly said in a statement. “Instead of launching a new ‘investigation,’ Governor Newsom and legislative leaders need to immediately suspend our state gas tax, which is nearly three times the federal tax.”

Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Lakewood, did not comment on the topic of gas prices since Monday, when he announced a select committee on gasoline supply and pricing to address alleged oil and gas industry profiteering.

On Wednesday, Rendon’s office said only that “the Legislature has proposed a plan to provide relief to consumers through exemptions, and they are in active dialogue with the governor to do so.”

But Golden State motorists are getting impatient. On Wednesday, California’s retail price of gasoline averaged 6.371 per gallon, significantly higher than the national average of $4.955. according to AAA, The state’s auto fuel costs consistently run higher than national prices because California has one of the highest gas taxes in the country and also requires a special gas blend to reduce haze that is not used by other states. , limits the supply.

Biden has seen his acceptance amid misunderstandings in managing the COVID-19 pandemic, shortages of baby formula, inflation and rising gas prices. a Morning Consult Poll The June 8 finding found that 58% of voters disapproved of Biden’s job performance, and 39% approved of his presidency, the lowest mark.

Biden wants Congress to suspend the federal gas tax of 18.4 percent per gallon for 90 days, though it’s unclear if that will happen Wednesday. He also requested that states suspend their own gas taxes, which he said averaged 30 cents per gallon. California’s 51.1-per-gallon gasoline tax is set to rise 2.8 cents on July 1. Newsom suggested a halt to that increase, but Democratic lawmakers rejected the idea.

Biden rebuked several states that have already suspended their gas taxes or implemented other reliefs that are helping consumers. Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont, also a Democrat, signed bipartisan legislation. State’s 25% gas tax suspended At least through June.

New York too suspended its 16-percent gas tax on June 1 by the end of the year. Illinois sealed The state’s 39.2-percent gas tax, which was to increase by 2.4 cents on July 1 for the remainder of the year. Colorado 2 percent per gallon fee deferred Which was supposed to kick off from July 1 to April 2023.

Maryland suspended its 36.1-percent gas tax from March 18 to April 16, and Georgia withdrew its 29.1-percent gas tax from March 18 to May 31. Florida plans to lift its 25.3-percent gas tax from October 1 to October 31.

a University of Pennsylvania report June 15 found that gas tax holidays in Maryland, Georgia and Connecticut were “passed on to consumers during most of the tax holidays.”

State Democratic lawmakers have urged an $8 billion plan that would send $200 checks to taxpayers for up to $125,000 through the Franchise Tax Board, with an additional $200 for each child or other dependent.

But Newsom has criticized that plan as inadequate and too slow, with relief probably not coming until October. He proposed that the Department of Motor Vehicles send California motorists $400 for each vehicle they own – up to $800 for two vehicles – which would total a rebate of $11 billion. He has also sought a grant to allow transit agencies to provide free rides for three months. Newsom has said his proposal could potentially offer relief sometime in the summer.

“Governor Newsom agrees that Californians need relief from the rising costs of everyday expenses such as gas,” Newsom’s office said Wednesday. “That’s why he’s advocating for immediate, direct payments to California families who are feeling the burden of inflation on everything from gas to groceries.”

R-Bakersfield Assemblyman Vince Fong, who sits on the Assembly’s budget committee, complained on Wednesday that state Democratic leaders allowed oil and gas production that would reduce supplies and lower prices in California during pump price relief. Can do.

“What disappoints me with what is happening right now is that there is a lot of political theater,” Fong said. “Budget talks are on. Governors and legislative Democrats recognize the fact that speed and urgency are one of the most important criteria for providing relief. But on the other hand, none of their proposals provide immediate relief.”

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