President Joe Biden on Wednesday called on Congress to suspend the state gas tax for the summer, then turned around and urged states to do the same — or find other ways to ease consumer pain at the pump from rising prices alleviate. .
Biden’s petition puts pressure on California politicians who have rejected a state gas tax holiday and whose proposed option to give consumers some cashback rebates won’t be viable until at least the fall.
However, it was unclear whether Republican lawmakers proposed, or at least moved faster, the president’s call from his own party to reconsider suspending the 51-cent-gallon state tax for several months. And whether or not that will inspire a democratically controlled legislature. A different kind of relief for drivers who see their hard-earned dollars pouring into their gas tanks at more than $6 a gallon.
Lawmakers from Newsom and the Democratic Party have repeatedly rejected the idea of a state gas tax exemption, arguing that there is no guarantee companies will pass on the savings from the suspended tax to consumers. But the proposed gas tax stays in California and those implemented in several other states contain language that would require savings in gas station prices.
Rep. Kevin Kelly, R-Granite Bay, a congressional candidate whose proposal to suspend California’s gas tax is gathering dust, said Wednesday that “evidence suggests gas tax holidays in other states are bringing real savings to consumers.” Give.”
“Even the President is finally recognizing that this is the best way to help families in need,” Kelly said in a statement. “Rather than launching a new ‘investigation,’ Governor Newsom and lawmakers must immediately suspend our state gas tax, which is nearly three times the federal rate.”
Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Lakewood, has not commented on gas prices since Monday, when he announced a special committee on gas supplies and prices to address alleged oil and gas industry profits.
On Wednesday, Rendon’s office said only that “the Legislature has proposed a plan to provide consumer relief through exemptions and they are in active dialogue with the governor to do so.”
But Golden State motorists are getting impatient. According to the AAA, retail gasoline prices in California on Wednesday averaged 6,371 gallons, significantly higher than the national average of $4,955. State auto fuel costs are consistently 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 other states don’t use. , limited supply.
Biden has seen his acceptance amid misunderstandings in managing the COVID-19 pandemic, baby food shortages, inflation and soaring gas prices. A June 8 Morning Consult poll found that 58% of voters disapproved of Biden’s professional record and 39% accepted his presidency’s worst mark.
Biden wants Congress to suspend the 18.4 percent per gallon federal gas tax for 90 days, though it’s unclear if that will happen on Wednesday. He also called on states to suspend their own gas taxes, which he says average 30 cents a gallon. California’s gasoline tax of 51.1 liters per gallon is set to increase by 2.8 cents on July 1. Newsom proposed stopping that increase, but Democratic lawmakers rejected the idea.
Biden chided several states that have already suspended their gas taxes or rolled out other relief to help consumers. Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont, also a Democrat, signed bipartisan legislation suspending the state’s 25 percent gas tax until at least June.
New York also suspended its 16-cent gas tax through the June 1 year-end. Illinois levied the state’s 39.2-cent gas tax on July 1, which was expected to rise 2.4 cents for the rest of the year. Colorado deferred a 2 percent per gallon fee that was scheduled to take effect from July 1 through April 2023.
Maryland suspended its 36.1 percent gas tax from March 18 through April 16, and Georgia withdrew its 29.1 percent gas tax from March 18 through May 31. Florida plans to repeal its 25.3 percent gas tax from Oct. 1 to Oct. 31.
A June 15 University of Pennsylvania report found that gas tax exemptions in Maryland, Georgia and Connecticut “were largely passed on to consumers during the tax exemption.”
Democratic state lawmakers have called for 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 insufficient and too slow, with relief likely not coming until October. He suggested that the Department of Motor Vehicles give California motorists $400 for each vehicle they own – up to $800 for two vehicles – which would mean a total rebate of $11 billion. He has also applied for a grant to allow transit companies to offer free rides for three months. Newsom said his proposal could potentially bring some relief sometime in the summer.
“Governor Newsom agrees that Californians need relief from the rising cost of everyday expenses like gasoline,” the Newsom office said Wednesday. “That’s why he advocates 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 convention’s budget committee, complained Wednesday that Democratic leaders were allowing oil and gas exploration that would reduce supplies and prices in California during pump price easing. Can do.
“What disappoints me about what’s happening right now is that there’s a lot of political theatre,” Fong said. “The budget negotiations are ongoing. Governors and Legislative Democrats recognize that speed and urgency are one of the most important criteria for delivering aid. But then again, none of their suggestions bring instant relief.”