Will Pennsylvania consider a gas tax holiday? Here’s what we found out

PITTSBURGH — As gas prices skyrocket, drivers say they’re desperate for relief.

“The taxes on the gas are outrageous. It’s ridiculous, the taxes on the gas,” said Sherry Evans.

State Representative Aaron Bernstine says Republican lawmakers are considering a bill to eliminate Pennsylvania’s gas tax.

“The question is: How long should that last? What should that be, and ultimately, that should ultimately be reduced because Pennsylvanians are paying the highest gas tax in the entire nation,” said Rep Bernstine.

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We did the math. If state lawmakers got rid of the 57-cent tax it drops the price at the pump here from $4.26 to $3.69 a gallon.

“Definitely in favor of that. I think the prices should go down permanently, not just for a gas tax holiday.”

We reached out to Governor Tom Wolf’s office who told us the majority of the gas tax goes towards our roads and bridges.

“We could use one. We pay the highest taxes around in gas,” said John Lewis.

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Governor Wolf’s office also says that they have asked Congress to suspend the federal gas tax for the rest of the year, which would drop the price down another 18 cents. Wolf was one of six Democratic governors who sent a letter to Congress asking lawmakers to get rid of it.

“We really need to make sure that we’re doing everything we can do to help Pennsylvania citizens,” said Rep. Bernstine.

Lawmakers tell Channel 11 they could be ready in two weeks to vote on a possible gas tax holiday at the state level.

Getting rid of the state gas tax is a move many around the country are now moving toward. In Georgia, Gov. Brian Kemp announced Monday he was working to move a bill through the state’s legislature to suspend the motor fuel tax. State lawmakers in New York are also pushing to temporarily pause the state’s gas tax. A bill has been proposed in Maine that would suspend that state’s 30 cents per gallon tax for a year. And lawmakers in Massachusetts are facing calls to suspend the tax to help bring down the price.

Wolf’s office sent Channel 11 a statement:

The governor does recognize that the increasing gas prices have an impact on all Pennsylvanians, especially those who are struggling. He has called on Congressional leaders to enact a federal gas tax holiday.

As far as a state gas tax holiday, the governor is focused on providing direct relief to Pennsylvanians, which can be achieved through increased investments in education as proposed in his budget, which would give school districts the relief to lower property taxes, as well as the PA Opportunity Program he proposed as part of his plan for our remaining ARPA funds.

It’s important to note that our gas tax is tied to funding fixing our roads and bridges through the Motor License Fund. The governor has proposed phasing out the gas tax. His budget also calls for a $141 million increase in state General Funds to support Pennsylvania State Police to reduce reliance on the Motor License Fund.

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