State Senator Steve Newman (R-Bedford) and freshman Delegate Tara Durant (R-Stafford) have introduced the Youngkin administration’s three-month gasoline tax holiday bill. In addition to the tax holiday, the bill includes a two percent cap on the annual rate adjustment, which is based on the consumer price index.

“There are so many hard-working Virginians who need some type of break at the gas pump right now. Governor Youngkin is leading by putting forward a bill, which I’m proud to sponsor in the Senate of Virginia, that will temporarily suspend the Virginia gas tax,” Newman told The Virginia Star in a statement. “There also appears to be momentum in Washington – even from the Biden Administration – to suspend part or all of the federal gas tax and release some of the strategic reserve. In Virginia, we are also seeking to place a cap on future gas taxes because the current cap is tied to inflation, which is skyrocketing. A cap on future gas tax rate adjustments simply protects hard-working Virginians at the pump.”

The cap on future adjustments comes after the General Assembly defeated Youngkin’s campaign promise to suspend the recent gas tax increase for one year. That’s an extra feature that Youngkin hasn’t discussed much, and is another potential stumbling block for Virginia Democrats who worry that tax cuts will just benefit fuel companies without being passed on to consumers.

“That is the most troubling aspect from my perspective, is the reduction of the tax would be on the distributors of the fuel, not, not a guarantee that consumers would pay less,” State Senator Barbara Favola (D-Arlington) said in a Monday press conference.

State Senator Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) added that the gas tax pays for highway maintenance.

“I don’t think we could say, as Virginians, that our highways are in tip-top shape and that we can afford to stop maintaining them for six months or however long the governor wants to suspend the maintenance funding,” Ebbin said.

The legislation includes an emergency clause, and if passed, would completely eliminate Virginia’s gasoline tax from May 1 through July 31. The bill would phase the tax back in: In August, the gasoline tax rate would be reduced by 50 percent from current levels, and in September, by 25 percent from current levels.

“Given the move to consider eliminating the federal gas tax by Democrats in Washington, I see no reason why this should be a partisan issue for Democrats in Virginia. The governor’s actions – taken together with the federal proposals – could have a dramatic positive impact on the wallets of Virginians,” Newman said.

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Eric Burk is a reporter at The Virginia Star and The Star News Network.  Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Tara Durant” by Tara Durant and photo “Steve Newman” by Steve Newman.