Florida Governor Ron DeSantis pushes gasoline tax relief plan due to price hikes at pumps
To counter inflation, Governor Ron DeSantis said Monday that he will ask lawmakers next year to temporarily “repeal” the state’s gas taxes.
Continuing to compare his economic approach to the Biden White House, DeSantis said a proposed “gas tax relief” of 25 cents a gallon could save the average Florida family up to $200 over five to six months, while reducing state revenue by more than 1 Billion dollar. DeSantis wants lawmakers to approve it during the legislative session that begins Jan. 11.
“We’ve always been very strong on the tax breaks in Florida. We did things like the athletes’ relief (the ‘sales tax’ holiday around July 4th). We finished back to school (the tax breaks). We did all of those things. And that’s good. But this, I think, is really big,” DeSantis said while at the Buc-ee store in Daytona Beach.
Later at a deli convenience store in Jacksonville, DeSantis said, “It’s obviously not going to eliminate inflation entirely, because it’s gone up so much. But it’s going to make a real difference to the pocketbooks. 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 chain, called the proposal an “extraordinary idea” and said he expected “most companies” to lower pump prices at discount age.
“If this actually happened and they lowered the tax, on the day they cut it, we would immediately give the pumps back the full 25 cents,” Abelin said.
Florida has huge financial reserves due to the federal COVID-19 stimulus money, and DeSantis said cutting gas tax revenue won’t derail the state’s Department of Transportation’s annual road program.
“We do infrastructure, not just roads, including roads, but also water resources, all of that,” DeSantis said. We may not have had such strong reserves in the history of the state. So, we have the ability to provide comfort to people, and I don’t think we will miss a moment.”
Meanwhile, the AAA Automobile Club reported that the price of gas in Florida en route for Thanksgiving jumped 10 cents last week to $3.36 a regular unleaded gallon.
The mark is the state’s highest since September 2014.
Last year, as motorists cut off travel due to COVID-19, gas was sold at an average of $2.03 per gallon before the holidays. Two years ago, the average was $2.44 per gallon.
“The good news is that gas prices will gradually decrease during the holiday,” Mark Jenkins, a spokesman for the American Automobile Association, said in a prepared statement. “Crude oil and gasoline futures fell last week, and that should put some downward pressure on prices back at the pump.”
Jenkin said crude oil prices fell 6 percent last week to $76.10 a barrel, the lowest since October 1, when the average price of gasoline in Florida was $3.05 a gallon.
DeSantis is not the first politician to call for a temporary reduction in gas prices.
Last week, Congressman Charlie Crist and Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, who will both run for Democratic governor in 2022, floated the idea of a “gas tax credit” separately.
“After calling Ron DeSantis to help Florida residents with the gas pump, Fried has finally helped our working families,” Fred tweeted Monday. “The gas tax should have been suspended because the second oil companies were making their profits in the spring, but better late than never.”
Crist also suggested President Joe Biden take advantage of the country’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve to help ease pump prices.
“Governor DeSantis is a day late and is limiting his price to the dollar,” Crist wrote on Twitter on Monday. “Last week’s non-special (legislative) session was supposed to address this issue rather than focus on facilitating the spread of COVID. As a result, at best, Florida residents will have to wait months for any gas tax cut.”
Nationwide Republicans are attacking the Biden administration on inflation issues, with DeSantis, for example, citing the rising costs of Thanksgiving dinner. The US Farm Bureau on Thursday set the price of a “classic Thanksgiving feast” at $6.41 per person, or a 14 percent increase from last year, with the price of a pound of turkey up 24 percent.
“Several factors contributed to the increase in the average cost of Thanksgiving dinner this year,” Veronica Neigh, chief economist at the Farm Bureau, said in a prepared statement. These include the dramatic disruptions to the US economy and supply chains over the past 20 months; inflationary pressure throughout the economy; Difficulty in predicting demand during the COVID-19 pandemic and rising global demand for food, especially meat.”
Neg added that people are also eating more at home, which has increased supermarket demand, causing retail food prices to rise.
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