Virginia lawmakers split on pausing state gas tax, sending rebate checks

The debate on cutting gas prices in Virginia is gaining speed as Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin wants to put a pause on the state's gas tax while Democrats say they want to send money directly to drivers.

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Gov. Youngkin wants a three-month pause on Virginia's $0.26 gas tax and now Democrats say they want to send $50 rebates to help Virginia drivers pay for gas instead.

House Democratic Leader Eileen Filler-Corn tells FOX 5 she wants $50 rebates to go to every car owner, or up to $100 per household.

She says their plan makes sure money goes straight to Virginia drivers and safeguards transportation funding, which relies on gas taxes.

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"Virginians are hurting, and we need a plan that’s going to help Virginians, and most of the governor’s plan would help out-of-state drivers and also oil companies, so we’re talking out our plan to ensure that we can take action and get money directly to Virginians," Filler-Corn says.

However, Republicans say that the Democrats' plan to send $50 to every driver is just a drop in the bucket and won't do much to help.

Republican Delegate Mike Webert of Fauquier County tells FOX 5 other states, such as Maryland, lowered gas prices by cutting taxes and that Virginia is in a good position financially to offer a gas tax holiday.

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"With revenues the way the state is right now, we have plenty of funds to cover a three-month hiatus from the gas tax," Del. Webert says. "We’ve got billions of dollars coming from the federal government, so it’s not like we’re going to forgo a lot of construction projects. In fact, the chairman of our appropriations committee says everything is funded." 

AAA says they "appreciate the effort" to address gas prices by gas tax cuts or rebates, but since gas taxes make up less than one-fifth of the price consumers pay at the pump, they want more focus on lowering the price of crude oil, which they say is the primary problem.


The Virginia General Assembly meets again on April 27.