In an effort to appease
constituents who are feeling pain in their pocketbooks at each fill-up, a
leading Delaware House lawmaker wants to roll back the state’s per-gallon fuel
taxes for the summer.
“The state can’t control the price
of oil,” House Speaker Terry Spence said in a written statement. “The only
impact we can make on the price at the pump is to eliminate the state fuel tax.
It’s an admittedly modest cut, but at least it will help reduce the burden on
Spence, R-Stratford, has
introduced a bill that would suspend the state’s excise tax on diesel and
gasoline for June through September. The state now collects 22 cents per gallon
on diesel and 23 cents per gallon on gasoline.
How the tax holiday would affect
the status of the International Fuel Tax Agreement requirements for miles
driven in Delaware is unclear.
To offset the lost revenue from
the moratorium, the bill would transfer $50 million from the state’s general
fund to the Transportation Trust Fund. The fund mostly pays for construction
and maintenance projects.
Spence said the state has more
than $104 million in unappropriated cash in the current fiscal year alone. A
portion of the surplus should be returned to taxpayers in the form of lower
fuel prices, he said.
Gov. Ruth Ann Minner and leading
Senate Democrats, though, have reservations about the plan. They say it’s bad
“I’m sure all of us would like to
have a (fuel) tax holiday 12 months of the year. But we have to be responsible
with our money,” Minner told The News Journal.
Spence said the bill – HB421 – would likely come up for consideration the first week of June. It is in the
House Revenue and Finance Committee.
Other states where fuel cost
relief actions are being sought include:
An Alabama House Democrat has
requested that Republican Gov. Bob Riley open a special session so lawmakers
can discuss a possible repeal of the state’s fuel tax. Nothing is in writing
yet and no word on whether diesel would be included in any tax breaks.
Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell said
she would consider a legislative effort to suspend the state’s per-gallon tax
on diesel and gasoline for the summer. A special session would need to be
called for lawmakers to address it.
Georgia Democrats are calling for
a 60-day moratorium on the state’s per gallon taxes on fuel. Republican Gov.
Sonny Perdue suspended the collection on fuel for one month last fall.
A Minnesota House lawmaker has
introduced a bill that would suspend the state’s 20-cent-per-gallon tax on
gasoline-based fuels for six months. The same tax on diesel would remain
A Republican hopeful for the Nevada governor’s seat is calling for the state’s portion of the gas tax to be repealed.
The proposal doesn’t include diesel.
In New Hampshire, a Republican
gubernatorial hopeful is calling for a suspension of the state’s per-gallon tax
on diesel and gasoline for the summer.
Some Republican lawmakers in New Mexico have plans to push Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson to round up the Legislature
for a special session to discuss suspending the state’s tax on diesel and
New York Gov. George Pataki’s
signed a bill into law “capping” the sales tax on diesel and gasoline. The
sales tax cap calls for the state to add sales tax to only the first $2 worth
of a gallon of diesel or gasoline. That would cap the tax at 8 cents per gallon
– saving consumers about 4 cents per gallon at current prices. For counties and
local governments, the cap is optional. The new rule takes effect June 1.
North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley, a
Democrat, has asked state lawmakers to cap the state’s per gallon tax on diesel
and gasoline so that the rate will not increase from the current level. The
state’s fuel tax can change every six months because a portion is set on recent
average wholesale prices. The next change could take place in July. House
Democrats also have plans to keep the fuel tax from increasing this year.
Democrats in the Texas House are
calling for a 90-day suspension of the state’s 20-cent-per-gallon tax on motor fuels.
– By Keith Goble, state