DeSantis Introduces Temporary ‘Gasoline Tax Relief’ Plan

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TALLAHASSEE (Florida Press Service)

To deal with inflation, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Monday he would ask lawmakers next year to temporarily “zero” the state’s gasoline taxes.

Continuing to contrast its economic approach with Biden’s White House, DeSantis said the proposed “gasoline tax relief” of around 25 cents a gallon could save the average Florida family up to ‘to $ 200 over a period of five to six months, while reducing state revenue by more than $ 1 billion. DeSantis wants lawmakers to approve it during the legislative session that begins on January 11.

“We have always been very firm on tax breaks in Florida. We did things like sports relief (a sales tax “holiday” around July 4th). We are back to school (tax holidays). We did it all. And it’s good. But it’s, I think, really, really big, ”DeSantis said while at a Buc-ee’s convenience store in Daytona Beach.

Later, at a Daily’s convenience store in Jacksonville, DeSantis said, “This is clearly not going to eliminate all the inflation, because it has gone up so much. But it will make a real difference in people’s wallets. And I think we’re going to get a lot of good support for that.

Arch “Beaver” Aplin III, owner of the Texas-based Buc-ee’s chain, called the proposal a “phenomenal idea” and said he expected “most companies” would cut prices at the pump when the discount would be adopted.

“If that happens and they lower the tax, the day they lower it, we’ll instantly cut pumps by 25 cents,” Aplin said.

Florida has large financial reserves due to federal COVID-19 stimulus money, and DeSantis has said the cut in gasoline tax revenue will not hamper the Department of Transportation’s annual highway program. ‘State.

“We’re doing infrastructure, not just roads, including roads, but also water resources, all of that,” DeSantis said. “We have probably never had such strong reserves in the history of the state. So we have the ability to bring relief to people, and I don’t think we’re going to miss a thing. “

Meanwhile, the AAA Automobile Club reported that the price of gasoline in Florida ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday jumped 10 cents last week to an average of $ 3.36 per gallon for regular unleaded.

The rating is the state’s highest since September 2014.

Last year, as motorists cut back on trips due to COVID-19, gasoline was selling on average at $ 2.03 per gallon before the holidays. Two years ago, the average was $ 2.44 per gallon.

“The good news is that gas prices are expected to gradually decline over the holidays,” AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins said in a prepared statement. “Crude oil and gasoline futures fell last week, which should restore some downward pressure on prices at the pump.”

Jenkin said crude oil prices fell 6% last week to $ 76.10 a barrel, the lowest since Oct. 1, when the average Florida gasoline price was $ 3.05 a barrel. gallon.

DeSantis is not the first politician to propose a temporary reduction in gas prices.

Last week, Congressman Charlie Crist and Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, who are running for Democratic gubernatorial candidate in 2022, separately pitched the idea of ​​a “tax holiday.” gasoline ”.

“After calling Ron DeSantis to help Floridians at the gas pump, he’s finally getting down to helping our working families,” Fried tweeted Monday. “The gasoline tax should have been suspended because the second largest oil companies were making profits in the spring, but better late than never.”

Crist also suggested that President Joe Biden tap into the country’s strategic oil reserve to help lower prices at the pump.

“Governor DeSantis is a day late and a dollar short,” Crist tweeted Monday. “Last week’s not-so-special (legislative) session should have addressed this issue instead of focusing on facilitating the spread of COVID. As a result, in the best-case scenario, Floridians will wait months for any reduction in gasoline taxes. “

Nationally, Republicans are hammering the Biden administration over inflation concerns, with DeSantis, for example, pointing to higher costs for Thanksgiving dinners. The US Farm Bureau on Thursday valued the price of a “classic Thanksgiving feast” at $ 6.41 per person, a 14% increase from last year, as the price per pound of a turkey rose. by 24%.

“Several factors have contributed to the increase in the average cost of this year’s Thanksgiving dinner,” said Veronica Nigh, the Farm Bureau’s senior economist, in a statement. “These include dramatic disruptions to the US economy and supply chains over the past 20 months; inflationary pressures throughout the economy; difficulty forecasting demand during the COVID-19 pandemic and strong global demand for food, especially meat. “

People are also eating more at home, which has increased demand for supermarkets, leading to higher retail food prices, Nigh added.

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