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Senate committee votes down gas tax holiday

Senate Finance Gas Tax
Steve Helber
/
AP
Virginia State Sen. Stephen Newman, R-Bedford, right at podium, gestures as he addresses a meeting of the Senate Finance committee at the Capitol Wednesday, April 27, 2022, in Richmond, Va.

Wednesday morning the Senate Finance Committee voted down Governor Glenn Youngkin’s proposal to suspend the gas tax this summer.

Youngkin argued that the suspension would bring gas prices down, and proposed paying for it with unexpected money in the Commonwealth Transportation Fund.

One Republican joined the committee’s Democrats, like Senator Chap Petersen, to vote it down. "Let me just give three concise reasons. One I think the real problem is inflation," Peterson explained. "And inflation affects all prices not just gas."

Petersen also said construction costs are increasing. Youngkin’s proposal would have used unexpected revenues in the fund that pays for new transport projects.

"And then three: I don’t think that a gas tax holiday affects prices. I really don’t. I just don’t think it’d get passed through to the consumer," Peterson said. Transportation lobbyists said similar holidays in other states didn’t reduce gas prices there.

As he left another meeting Wednesday, Governor Glenn Youngkin said he was disappointed. "I just think we need to recognize, first of all, the runaway inflation, the cost of living escalation in Virginia's hurting Virginians. And the second thing we've got to recognize it's Virginia's money, Virginians money, not government’s money."

A similar bill is still alive in the Republican-controlled House of Delegates, but would have to go through the Senate before becoming law.

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.