MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) - A new plan at the Capitol would suspend the state's 28.5 cent gas tax between Memorial and Labor Day.
According to AAA, drivers are paying about 27 cents more for a tank of gas than they were last month. The average price in Minnesota is $3.43, and experts predict the price will continue to climb.
Russia's invasion of Ukraine is expected to fuel even higher prices on top of inflation.
"Inflation is at a high in Minnesota we haven't seen in decades and people are hurting," said Rep. Zack Stephenson, who chairs the House Commerce Committee.
He's one of five house Democrats proposing a summer gas tax holiday, meaning drivers wouldn't have to pay the 28.5 cents-a-gallon state tax.
The $7.7 billion state budget surplus would offset the $207 million of revenue expected by the tax, Stephenson said.
"We should use that money to help people who are struggling to pay their bills. This is one way we can do it," he said.
Republican lawmakers were quick to slam the proposal, calling it an election year gimmick.
"They are attempting to fool Minnesotans by making them think they are in favor of reducing the gas tax in a very temporary way and in an amount that is smaller than their attempts to raise the gas tax permanently in the past," said House Minority Leader Rep. Kurt Daudt.
Rep, Daudt says Republicans are pushing for more energy independence and longterm solutions.
"My hope is that we can do some permanent tax relief. If all we can get is a temporary tax reduction we will do it," he said.
Either way for drivers, relief couldn't come soon enough.
"I'd be happy if they passed it right now so gas would go down," said Curtis Johnson of St. Louis Park.
This proposal is still in its early days.Rep. Stephenson says the bill could be introduced in the next week or so.
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