Michigan Republicans Seek a Temporary Suspension of the State Gas Tax.

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Michigan’s top Republican legislators want to put the state’s gas tax on hold.

House Speaker Jason Wentworth, R-Farwell, and Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, announced their intention to expedite legislation that would suspend Michigan’s 27-cent-per-gallon gasoline and diesel fuel tax until the start of the new fiscal year in October 2022.

According to a Senate spokeswoman, the proposed amendment would have no effect on the 6% sales tax collected on fuel transactions. Suspending the gas tax for that time period would cost the state approximately $750 million, which lawmakers propose may be offset by current surplus money.

While legislation is still being developed, the House might vote on a plan as early as Wednesday afternoon, and the Senate is expected to take it up next week.

 

Gas Tax

 

The announcement follows Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s request to Congress to suspend the federal gasoline tax for the remainder of the year.

Whitmer joined Democratic governors from five other states in a letter to congressional leaders this week urging them to enact legislation suspending the 18-cent tax on each gallon of gasoline. Michigan’s gasoline prices are currently among the highest in the country, having increased to a statewide average of $4.24 per gallon for regular gasoline on Wednesday.

Wentworth and Shirkey both expressed reservations about the request.

Wentworth questioned why the governor would petition Congress for aid “when we can just step up and repair it ourselves,” referring to the state’s present billions in surplus revenue. And Shirkey said Whitmer should seriously consider both the planned gasoline tax moratorium and a proposal by the Legislature to decrease the state income tax and enhance tax advantages for seniors.

“This is a grave problem that necessitates more than letter writing and the altruistic act of asking someone else to foot the tab,” Shirkey stated.

According to a spokesperson for Whitmer, the governor believes that delaying the federal gas tax is the greatest method to reduce gasoline prices without jeopardising the state’s capacity to fix the darn roads.

Michigan drivers will pay 64.1 cents per gallon of fuel in taxes as of January 2022, making the state the sixth highest in the nation for gas taxes.

According to AAA, the average price of normal gasoline in Michigan was $3.57 per gallon just one week ago. A year ago, it was $2.72. The state’s historic high is $4.25 a gallon, set in 2011, and several counties in Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula have already reached that level.

 

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Governors cited worldwide issues and rising inflation as causes for the recent cost jump in a letter requesting a federal gas tax postponement. According to a press release from Whitmer’s office, the cause is especially Russian “President Vladmir Putin’s heinous attacks on Ukraine.”

“At a time when individuals are directly touched by rising prices on everyday items, a federal gas tax holiday is one tool in the arsenal for Americans to save money, and we ask you to give this proposed legislation careful attention,” the letter adds.

The Gas Prices Relief Act was proposed last month in the United States House of Representatives and Senate. Neither variant has yet to be voted on.

Representatives Dan Kildee, D-Flint, and Elissa Slotkin, D-Holly, are co-sponsors of the House bill. Senator Debbie Stabenow, D-Flint, of the United States of America is a co-sponsor of the Senate version.

The federal gas tax funds the Highway Trust Fund, which is used to pay for road building and mass transit. The measure would empower the US Treasury to transfer funds from the general fund to make up for lost revenue.

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