Dueling proposals to counter high gas prices in Virginia

House Democrats in Virginia have their own plan for easing residents’ pain at the pump.

Under their proposal, the Virginia Department of the Treasury would distribute direct rebate payments of $50 to Virginia car owners, up to $100 per household.

Democratic lawmakers say it’s a better and cheaper alternative to Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s proposed legislation, which would suspend the state’s gas tax of 26 cents per gallon for three months, beginning in May.

“Governor Youngkin’s plan is riddled with holes that will do lasting harm to Virginia and the people who live here,” said Democratic Caucus Chair Charniele Herring in a news release Friday.

Democrats argue that a gas tax suspension would benefit out-of-state drivers and the oil industry more than Virginians, and would take too much money away from road projects.

Youngkin has said that the Commonwealth Transportation Fund’s unanticipated surplus of over $1 billion would cover the cost of a gas tax holiday.

“Virginia should join numerous other states, led by both Republicans and Democrats, in temporarily suspending the gas tax,” Youngkin said Monday. “Actions speak louder than words; we can lower gas prices now for all Virginians.”

Maryland, Connecticut and Georgia have all implemented gas tax holidays. An effort to extend Maryland’s 30-day tax suspension was recently defeated.

The timeline for voting on either proposal is still unclear. Lawmakers are currently out of session.

A spokesperson for the Virginia House Democrats told WTOP that Democratic lawmakers would be prepared to move on their proposal once they are called back into session by the General Assembly’s Republican leadership.

Shayna Estulin

Shayna Estulin is an anchor/reporter for WTOP. She started her career in New York City as a local TV reporter and has since covered foreign affairs and national politics as a Washington correspondent. She also anchored a nightly news show for an international network.

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