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Group of House DFLers seeks support for 'gas tax holiday' this summer

The proposal has yet to gain full support from the party.

With gas prices inching up amid rising inflation, a group of Democrats in the Minnesota House are proposing giving drivers a break at the pump this summer.

Described as a "gas tax holiday," the plan would pause the state's fuel tax — which currently stands at 28.5 cents per gallon — from Memorial Day to Labor Day

The bill, which has yet to be formally introduced, was proposed on Friday with the backing of five House DFLers: Reps. Zack Stephenson of Coon Rapids, Kaela Berg of Burnsville, Jessica Hanson of Savage, Dave Lislegard of Aurora and Dan Wolgamott of St. Cloud.

According to a news release, the plan would offset the lost tax income with money from the state's general fund, which is projected to have a $7.7 billion surplus. 

“We need to suspend the gas tax to help relieve the financial stresses of rising prices and inflation,” Wolgamott said in a statement. “This proposal will ease the pressure Minnesotans are feeling at the pump without jeopardizing funds for roads and bridges.”

Rising inflation and gas prices are poised to become even more noticeable due to the outbreak of war in Ukraine, which could have ripple effects on the global economy. 

But the proposed gas tax holiday already has opposition in the state legislature. In a Friday news release, Senate Majority Leader Jeremy Miller (R-Winona) called the plan "just another election year gimmick from the Democrats."

"The best way to provide relief to Minnesotans is with permanent tax cuts that result in more money in people’s pockets every single paycheck, week after week, month after month, year after year," Miller said.

Meanwhile, House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt blasted the proposal as a "desperate and temporary" measure for rising gas and energy prices "in the Walz/Biden economy," MPR reports. 

But Rep. Stephenson told the station that there is "enthusiasm among House leaders for the plan," though he said he hasn't yet discussed it with Democratic Gov. Tim Walz.

According to the American Automobile Association, the average gas price in Minnesota is currently $3.451, compared to a national average of $3.597.

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