Republican senators call GOP-approved gas tax holidays in Maryland, Georgia ‘tricks’

GOP lawmakers on Capitol Hill said Wednesday that suspending gas pump taxes was the wrong way to help consumers, whether the proposals come from Democrats at the federal level or Republicans at the state level.

The Republican governors of Maryland and Georgia have both approved gasoline tax exemptions to mitigate soaring prices, a move that drew criticism from some within their own party.

“I think it’s a gimmick,” Sen. Mike Crapo, Republican of Idaho, said Wednesday. “It’s not a solution, and the bottom line is that it’s not a solution to what caused this [high gasoline] price… But that’s their job. They can do whatever they want in their own states.

Sen. John Barrasso, Republican of Wyoming, spoke to reporters alongside Mr. Crapo about the sharp rise in national energy costs. He described the idea of ​​gas tax holidays as “just a band-aid over a bullet hole.”

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s decision last week to sign emergency legislation that authorized both state legislatures — Georgia’s is controlled by the GOP — underscored the constituent pressure faced by elected officials from both parties and different levels of government. by providing economic relief for soaring gasoline prices.

Drivers in Maryland will get a 36-cent-per-gallon break through April 16 and Georgia will get a 29-cent-per-gallon break through May. The national average for a gallon of regular gas was $4.24 on Wednesday, down just 9 cents from its all-time high of $4.33 on March 11 and up $1.36 from last year. , according to AAA.

Democrats’ proposals to Congress for a suspension of the 18.4-cent-per-gallon federal tax have been met with a similar pushback from fellow Republicans, who have cited industry experts and economists who say it would have little impact and could even cause further inflation. in prices.

“But what American wouldn’t say he wants some of his taxes cut?” Mr. Crapo asked.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), at least 16 other state legislatures are discussing or considering a fuel tax exemption or related gasoline tax relief. Governors of at least six states have also made comments suggesting they are open to such an idea.

One of these states is Florida.

Last month, the GOP-controlled Sunshine State Legislature approved a month-long gas tax exemption as part of its budget that would save drivers 26.5 cents per gallon and occur in October, the month before Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis was re-elected. He still needs approval from Mr. DeSantis, who has called for a five-month vacation.

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