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The debate over what to do with Virginia's gas tax in the coming months continues

Robyn Crozier
Ross D. Franklin
A driver fills up on gas.

One of the hottest debates between legislators right now is whether to suspend the gas tax this summer.

Governor Glenn Youngkin and Republicans are proposing a three month gas tax holiday, and two more months of a reduced gas tax. Tuesday, the House Finance committee took up the measure. Transportation Secretary Shep Miller spoke on behalf of the administration.

“Inflation is across the board, and so people are struggling," Miller said. "And I think this is a just a way to try and give some people some ease from that pain.” 

House Democrats have proposed a $50 rebate instead. They are concerned that if the tax goes away, the discounts won’t get passed down to drivers and those selling the gas will just profit more. Here’s Delegate Vivian Watts of Fairfax County.

“My question of timing is also very much about whether or not this tax relief is going to get passed on. And the governor said there is no guarantee,” Watts explained. 

House Republicans voted down the direct rebate proposal. They sent the gas tax holiday bill to the House Appropriations Committee. All Democrats voted against it.

Miller said he estimated the tax holiday will cost about $470 million. But transportation advocates said that another part of the bill would cost even more over time. That provision limits future changes in the gas tax. They said it would cost $500 million over the next six years.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Jahd Khalil is a reporter and producer in Richmond.