Virginia’s governor proposes 3-month gas tax holiday; Democrats ‘baffled’ by legislative delay

Virginia is looking to follow Maryland’s lead with its own gas tax holiday, but is struggling to put a cohesive plan in place to do so.

Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s office announced Monday that it’s sending legislation to the General Assembly that would suspend the tax — which is 26.2 cents per gallon of gasoline and 27 cents per gallon of diesel — in May, June and July before phasing it back in the following two months.

However, that legislation was sent after the special session had gone to recess on Monday, according to House Democratic Leader Eileen Filler-Corn later Monday night.

“The Governor could have acted in the Regular Session last month, he could have acted during Special Session today, but he failed to do so,” Filler-Corn said in a statement. “I am baffled as to why he did not introduce this sooner.”

Filler-Corn said that the special session convened around noon on Monday and recessed around 1:10 p.m. She said that Youngkin’s statement about issuing the legislation came three hours after the session’s recess.

The bill proposed by Youngkin would also limit annual adjustments to the gas tax to 2%.

“Virginians need tax relief and it’s time for the General Assembly to act on the multiple tax relief proposals,” he said in a statement. “With gas prices and inflation squeezing families’ pocket books across Virginia and the nation and with over $1 billion in unanticipated revenue in our transportation fund, the general assembly must act now.”

Revenue from the motor vehicle fuels tax goes into the commonwealth transportation fund, which has over $671 million in unanticipated revenue for the 2022 fiscal year and over $457 million for the 2023 fiscal year.

According to AAA, Monday’s average price of gas across the commonwealth was about $4.06.

Matthew Delaney

Matt Delaney is a digital web writer/editor who joined WTOP in 2020.

Jack Pointer

Jack contributes to when he's not working as the afternoon/evening radio writer. In a previous life, he helped edit The Dallas Morning News and Chicago Tribune.

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