By Seth Mendelson, Editorial Director, Business Facilities
The governments of two states have taken the bull by the horns in regard to higher prices at the gas pump. Will those states start a much-needed nationwide trend to help consumers and businesses?
Late last week, governments in Maryland and Georgia quickly moved to temporarily suspend their state taxes on gasoline, providing drivers in those states with a little savings in the face of fast-rising prices at the pump.
Maryland suspended its 36.1 cent a gallon tax on gasoline and 36.85 cents a gallon tax on diesel for the next 30 days. Georgia suspended its 29 cents per gallon tax on gas through the end of May.
Other states, including New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Minnesota, are considering similar measures and pressure is starting to build across the country to provide some level of relief to drivers at the gas pump.
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan took to CNBC on Tuesday morning to explain that suspending the gasoline and diesel taxes would amount to a $20 savings for the average driver over the course of the suspension. Noting that every little bit helps, Hogan, a two-term Republican who cannot run again because of term limits, said that the state can afford this move at this point.
He said the 30-day suspension will result in about a $100 million cost to the state, but that none of the state’s many infrastructure projects would be impacted. Maryland, he noted, has a rainy-day fund of about $3.6 billion.
The same message is coming out of Georgia, where Governor Brian Kemp made it clear that the goal was to give drivers some relief in the face of rising prices.
Now the pressure is building on other states to follow with some experts predicting that some level of relief, either in a suspension of taxes or a tax rebate similar to what is being considered in California, is on its way in many areas.