INDIANAPOLIS — During the last legislative session, Democrats proposed suspending the state gas tax as prices began to rise due to the war in Ukraine.
Republicans did not support those efforts instead, passing House Registration Act 1002 that covered various tax issues that Republicans say will help Hoosiers.
Now, with Indiana expected to have a budget surplus of $6.1 million, Democrats are again calling on Republicans to use their super majority to suspend gasoline taxes through the summer.
“Having $6 billion and doing nothing meaningful for the people is unacceptable,” said State Rep. Mitch Gore, D-Indianapolis.
“It’s almost a slap in the face to taxpayers when they feel this pain every day at the pump,” said state Rep. Maureen Bauer, D-South Bend.
Bauer and Gore are pushing for the Indiana General Assembly to address the issue when lawmakers meet next for what’s called a technical correction day.
This day is when lawmakers typically overrule governors’ vetoes. Both State House and state Senate Republicans have said they would consider overriding Gov. Eric Holcomb’s veto on HEA 1041 that bars transgender girls from playing in K-12 sports. However, they did not say whether they would use the day to pass other laws like suspending gasoline taxes.
Gore said they were allowed to do that.
If state gasoline taxes were suspended, gasoline would drop 56 cents based on current Department of Revenue figures.
This figure comes from the excise tax of 32 cents on gasoline and the sales tax of 24 cents. The latter has just increased this month as it is based on 7% of the average between March 16 and April 15 which was $3.44
WRTV reached out to Holcomb’s office, as well as Statehouse Republicans, to see if they would accept the Democratic proposal next week.
We received the following statement from Holcomb:
For an Indiana governor to suspend the gasoline tax by declaring an energy emergency, the state must have an existing or projected energy deficit that would endanger life, health, and property. We have not reached this threshold. Both INDOT and the Office of Energy Development have confirmed that we have no shortages or projected shortages. States that have suspended the gas tax so far have done so through the legislature. – Governor Eric J. Holcomb
Senate Republicans did not comment. House Republicans are aware of our questions, but have not responded.
Lawmakers Bauer and Gore Saod have a chance to help ease some of the pressure the Hoosiers are feeling. They emphasize that this is not a partisan issue.
“Democrats and Republicans are gassing up. There are Republican states that have suspended their gas tax,” Gore said. “There are states where Republicans have offered to suspend the tax and Democrats have said no. To those Democrats, I say that’s wrong. We need to relieve people.”
Gore will hand out $15 gift cards at a gas station in his district on Tuesday to simulate how much Hoosiers could save every time they fill up if Republican leaders decide to waive state gasoline taxes.
Starting at 1 p.m., he will be at Speedway Gas Station located at 7940 Brookville Road.