INDIANAPOLIS – Gov. Eric Holcomb said he had a proposal for giving Hoosiers relief from skyrocketing inflation and could release details after reviewing the state’s revenue numbers released on Friday.
“We’ll have to see what it is exactly but I have reached out and scheduled time to in-person sit down with the (House) Speaker (Todd Huston) and with the (Senate) President Pro Tem (Rodric Bray) to float an idea that I think would be very helpful to Hoosiers,” Holcomb said.
Holcomb didn’t specify his approach to relief but said that he had no plans to suspend the gas tax. The tax rate on gasoline is taxed at 32 cents per gallon with an additional 24 cents per gallon in sales tax. The federal government taxes 18.4 cents per gallon.
Democrats called for Republican leaders to suspend the gas tax in March during the legislative session’s final days and a technical corrections day in May. Indianapolis representatives continued pushing for gas tax relief as recently as this week, noting that Indiana’s surplus is projected to reach $6 billion.
“Now is the time for state leaders to provide an all-around approach to combat global inflation, but so far, it appears Indiana Democrats are the only ones who want to answer the call,” Lauren Ganapini, the executive director of the Indiana Democratic Party, said in a Thursday statement. “Democrats were ignored when we asked for a temporary pause on rising state gas taxes even as the state sits on a huge surplus.”
In March, when Democrats first proposed suspending taxes, they estimated that doing so would cost the state around $300 million over three months.
Huston, R-Fishers, and Bray, R-Martinsville, said in May they didn’t believe waiving the gas tax would be the best way to help Hoosiers, noting the high cost of groceries and other necessities.
“There’s a ton of economic uncertainty right now — you see it across all aspects of the economy — and we want to make sure that we act prudently and thoughtfully so we just don’t overreact,” Huston said in May. “We’re in a great position as a state and we want to make sure that we are targeted and thoughtful … about how we provide the relief to Hoosiers that we all want to see.”
Huston noted the increased cost of infrastructure projects, which could impact the state’s biennial budget set to be drafted in 2023. The state’s gas taxes fund Indiana’s roadways and construction.
“I’m not interested in suspending the gas tax because I don’t want to delay the progress we’re making on one (area) at the expense of trying to help in another area,” Holcomb said. “Hopefully there’s help coming but we also need some help sooner rather than later on the national front.”
This article is made available through Hoosier State Press Association.