The Battle Over the Gas Tax Holiday
GasTaxHoliday.org's efforts to pressure federal and state governments into trying the "$50 highway discount" has become a veritable symbol of our poisonous political polarization.
If you're looking for an example of our hyper-partisan politics, just go to your local gas pump.
As a result of our toxic partisan politics, the debate over a gas tax holiday in Washington and in many state capitols has become a classic example. When Democrats propose one, Republicans automatically oppose it. And when Republicans request one, Democrats reject the idea without hesitation.
Opponents of suspending the gas tax are correct on the issue. At best, drivers may see only a few pennies in relief, while the rest of the benefit goes to oil producers and gas station owners. And instead of fighting inflation, reducing the tax just increases demand for a product where supply is limited. That drives price up. But this dispute isn't about what's right; it's about supporting your team.
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Last month, President Biden suggested suspending the federal gasoline tax for three months. Republicans, who are always eager to reduce taxes, rejected this proposal immediately.
Biden said his proposed three-month gas tax holiday would provide consumers with "a little bit of breathing room."
Mitch McConnell called it “an ineffective stunt...” Sen. Mike Lee (R) went even further, calling it
As recently as 2018, Lee, along with fellow GOP senators Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) introduced a bill to cut the federal gas tax from 18.4 cents per gallon to 3.7 for five years, a move that was widely praised by Republicans across the country.That was then.
In the states, partisanship
In addition to the federal government, there are states.
In Virginia, Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin proposed suspending the state’s 26 cent-per-gallon gas tax. Senate Democrats opposed his plan, which was supported by the Republicans in the legislature.
Virginia Republican lawmakers insisted that a tax holiday was needed to help hard pressed drivers, while Democrats said it would cut much needed funding for roads.
In Connecticut, Democratic Governor Ned Lamont, sounding much like Republican Youngkin, pushed for an extended gas tax holiday. Unlike Youngkin,
The story was reversed in Georgia. Republican Governor Brian Kemp used his executive authority to extend and then
Democrats, including gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, took a different approach from their Virginia brethren. Sounding almost like Republicans, they
The following are some exceptions
Then, there is California. In the state, Republicans in the state legislature are demanding a gas tax holiday. State Sen .Brian Jones, who chairs the Senate Republican Caucus, calls high gas prices “an emergency” and says Democrats who oppose the idea are “greedy and somewhat arrogant."
Democrats mostly oppose the idea.
There are exceptions to the hyper-partisanship. Some national Democrats opposed Biden's proposed holiday, which helps explain why the idea may have already sunk to the bottom of the policy lagoon. New York enacted a gas tax holiday with
When it comes to a gas tax holiday, if you're on the right side of an issue, you don't have to believe in something for it to be true.