HARRISBURG, Pa. (Erie News Now) – According to AAA, the average price per gallon of gas in Pennsylvania is down about 20 cents in the last month. However, the state’s gas tax is still one of the highest in the country.
Pennsylvania lawmakers like Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman (R-Centre), are pushing legislation to cut the state’s 58 cent gas tax, the third highest in the country.
Corman, who is also a candidate for governor, is the sponsor of Senate Bill 10, also known as the “Consumer Gas Prices Relief Act.”
The bill proposes to cut the gas tax by one-third, or roughly 20 cents, through the end of the year.
According to Corman, the proposal could reduce the total amount in taxes you pay at the pump by 50 percent if paired with a federal gas tax holiday.
Currently, drivers in Pennsylvania pay about 77 cents total in taxes, that includes the state and federal gas tax.
Pennsylvania gas tax revenue plays a huge role in funding the Pennsylvania State Police and critical infrastructure projects.
To offset the loss in revenue for infrastructure, Corman’s bill would require PennDOT to issue a $650 million bond to ensure critical projects remain funded.
“We’re in an emergency now. When you get a hole in the roof of your house, you’ve got to fix the hole, and sometimes you have to go out and do a home equity loan to make that happen, and you pay it back over a period of time,” said Corman.
Originally, Corman’s plan was to use $500 million from the federal American Rescue Plan Act to fund the state police, instead of their funding being diverted from the motor license fund.
However, Corman recently told ErieNewsNow that the $500 million for the state police might be able to instead come from the general fund because the fund is in solid financial shape.
“I think we’re going to shift away from the COVID dollars, and actually be able to do it through the general fund, because the general fund is in such good financial position,” said Corman. “We’re way ahead in our revenue collections,” he added.
Corman says the proposal is a short-term fix to provide much needed relief for Pennsylvanians.
“This is short term, let’s be very clear about that. This is relief till the end of the year and then we have to address the situation at the end of the year,” said Corman. “This isn’t a perfect situation by any stretch, but obviously this is the situation we’re in, and consumers need relief,” Corman added.
He says although his bill offers a short-term solution, funding the state police through the general fund can provide long-term benefits.
“Moving the $600+ million in state police annually out of the motor licensed fund into the general fund will go a long way to solving a lot of these problems,” said Corman.
State Representative Tony DeLuca (D-Allegheny) is also sponsoring gas tax relief legislation. DeLuca’s House Bill 2453 would fully suspend the state’s gas and diesel tax for six months.
Deluca’s House bill and Corman’s Senate bill both await committee approval.
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