Gasoline Tax Exemption in Missouri? Don’t bet on it. | Policy

JEFFERSON CITY — President Joe Biden on Wednesday called on states to temporarily suspend their gasoline and diesel taxes, but Missouri seems unlikely to do the same.

A key factor in this equation: The Missouri House bedroom is being carpeted. The bare plywood floor is devoid of desks and the electronic voting system for the 163 members was disconnected during the work.

Another obstacle: The president of the Missouri Senate on Tuesday called Biden’s proposal a “gimmicky.”

Senate Speaker Dave Schatz, a Sullivan Republican who has championed a 2021 Missouri gas tax hike, said the maneuver would not have a lasting effect.

“What he needs to refocus on is that we need to become energy independent,” Schatz said.

Biden’s past efforts to curb soaring gasoline prices — including releasing oil from the U.S. strategic reserve and greater blending of ethanol this summer — have done little to produce savings. at the pump, a risk that affects the idea of ​​an exemption from the gas tax.

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Republican Gov. Mike Parson, who has backed Schatz’s efforts to impose a phased increase in the gas tax, did not respond to requests for comment. But, any attempt to give motorists a break on the state portion of the gas tax would likely require legislative approval.

Although House renovations can make any type of special session a logistical challenge, the chairman of the House Budget Committee supports the concept of a fuel tax holiday.

“I would support that. Personally, I did not support the gas tax increase,” said Rep. Cody Smith, R-Carthage.

Biden’s proposal calls on Congress to suspend federal gasoline and diesel taxes for three months — a move intended to ease financial pressures at the pump that also exposes the political toxicity of high gasoline prices over the past year. an election year.

At issue is the federal tax of 18.4 cents per gallon on gasoline and the federal tax of 24.4 cents per gallon on diesel fuel. If gas savings were fully passed on to consumers, people would save about 3.6% at the pump when prices average about $5 a gallon nationally.

Missouri’s gasoline tax currently stands at 19.5 cents per gallon. It rose for the first time in a quarter century this year after lawmakers approved a plan to raise the tax by 2.5 cents a year until 2025, when it will stand at 29.5 cents per gallon, which is about the average for state-level taxes.

Gasoline prices in Missouri have hovered between $4.50 and $4.80 per gallon in recent days.

Prices are even higher in the St. Louis metropolitan area. On Wednesday, the average price for regular unleaded on the Missouri side of the Mississippi River was $4.85 versus $2.78 a year earlier, according to AAA.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Posted at 10:45 a.m. Wednesday, June 22.

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