CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) — Call it the battle for gas tax relief. But will drivers get the benefits? We now have dueling proposals from the legislature, but will Governor Justice call a Special Session of the House of Delegates and State Senate?
For weeks Democrats have been calling on Governor Jim Justice to suspend the state’s 37-and-a-half cent gas tax for a month. The governor has resisted saying he doesn’t have sole authority to do that, and that it could put state road construction bonds in jeopardy.
Now, a Republican leader has a different idea. He believes it would be better just to send all car owners, a tax rebate check. So now, you have a battle: rebate checks versus a gas tax holiday.
“We can do this. So the road bond isn’t and issue. We can have it both ways. We can eliminate the tax for one month and bring 50 to 60 dollars of relief to West Virginians, on average, and take care of our roads,” said State Sen. Richard Lindsay, (D) Kanawha.
“I think the simpler you keep the process, the easier the process will be, to be able to get other legislators on board. So, I believe we would just do flat fees, if we did a flat fee of $100 rebate checks,” said Del. John Hardy, (R) Berkeley.
Despite their differences on the approach to gas tax relief, both lawmakers agreed on one key point today. They want Governor Justice to add gas taxes to the agenda on a special legislative session that he has already called for April 24th through 26th to deal with other issues.
Neighboring Maryland is only one of three states that have suspended the gas tax. Other states including California and Illinois are talking about issuing gas tax rebate checks, like some Republicans are proposing here in West Virginia.