There’s no timeline set for how long Virginia lawmakers will remain in special session to finalize a budget and now there’s one more issue on the agenda: whether to suspend the commonwealth’s gas tax.
The General Assembly’s regular session ended on March 12 without the Democrat-controlled Senate and GOP-controlled House reaching a deal on a two-year spending plan.
Legislation sent to the General Assembly by Gov. Glenn Youngkin and introduced Monday by Del. Tara Durant (R-Stafford) and Sen. Steve Newman (R-Lynchburg) would eliminate the state’s Motor Vehicle Fuels tax during May, June and July.
I’m proud to be the patron of @GovernorVA’s gas tax holiday bill in the House. We’re working hard to give Virginians lower gas prices as soon as possible.
— Tara Durant (@Durant4Delegate) April 5, 2022
The tax would be phased back starting in August at a 50% reduction, and then in September at 25% reduction.
Virginia’s gas tax is 26.2 cents per gallon for gasoline and 27 cents for diesel.
It’s unclear when the issue first will be debated among lawmakers. The House Speaker will refer HB 6001 to the House Committee on Finance. According to Durant’s office, the speaker’s office is working to coordinate dates.
Durant believes the measure will have bipartisan support.
“Absolutely, I think it stands a chance because we know the pain at the pump; and we know that we can afford it,” Durant said, referring to the transportation fund surplus.
“We have unanticipated revenue of more than $1.2 billion. So, this bill, if becoming into law, would only reduce that surplus by $427 million. So this does not impact any existing projects or any future projects,” she said.
Durant projects that if the bill is passed as written, it will help a typical family save more than $100 over the three affected months.
Maryland became the first state in the nation to suspend gas taxes in mid-March.