by Scott McClallen
The Michigan House on Wednesday voted 63-39 on a bill aiming to suspend the state’s 27.2-cent per gallon fuel tax for six months.
For the first time since 2008, gas prices broke $4 per gallon nationwide.
If passed by the Senate and signed into law, House Bill 5570 would suspend the state fuel tax on gas, diesel, and alternative fuels starting April 1, 2022, through September 30, 2022.
Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, has agreed his chamber will approve the bill and send it to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s desk. Her office hasn’t responded to a request for comment.
- Comprehensive Transportation Fund: $72.5 million.
- State Trunkline Fund: $255.1 million.
- County Road Commissions: $255.1 million.
- Cities and Villages: $142.2 million.
- Two additional earmarks totaling $45.4 million: revenue from one-half-cent of the gas fuel tax flows to the STF to repair state trunkline bridges, while revenue from one-half-cent of fuel tax on gasoline funds the local bridge program.
The GOP said they plan to offset the revenue loss with increased state surplus funds.
Rep. Andrew Beeler, R-Port Huron, welcomed the plan.
“Inflation and federal restrictions on American oil are driving the price of gas to staggering heights,” Beeler said in a statement. “To help offset these price increases, our plan will give Michigan families a break from the state gas tax.”
The bill garnered bipartisan support in the House.
Rep. David LaGrand, D-Grand Rapids, tweeted:
“Today I voted to suspend Michigan’s gas and diesel tax. We must provide relief to Michiganders as we face the pressure of rising gas prices. As we stand with Ukraine by no longer using Russian oil, we must offset the cost put on Michigan families. I’m proud to do so.”
The letter reads: “Money saved at the pump translates into dollars back in consumers’ pockets for groceries, childcare, rent, and more.”
The GOP’s proposed 27 cent gas tax break would be more than if the federal government suspended the smaller 18.4 cents federal tax since state sales tax is calculated on the transaction’s total.
House Speaker Jason Wentworth, R-Farwell, said sending this package to Whitmer will reveal whether she really wants to cut taxes or just wants political points before the 2022 election.
“Why in the world would we write a letter to Congress asking for lower gas prices somehow, someday when we can just step up and fix it ourselves?” Wentworth said in a statement. “Michigan has billions of dollars in surplus revenue available and one of the nation’s highest state fuel taxes. The solution here isn’t complicated.”
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Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on Forbes.com and FEE.org. Previously, he worked as a financial analyst at Pepsi.
Photo “Andrew Beeler” by Michigan House Republicans.