Some House DFLers pitch summer gas tax holiday

Pumping gas
Minnesota motorists would get a holiday from paying the state tax on gasoline this summer, under a legislative proposal announced Friday by a group of DFL members of the Minnesota House.
David McNew/Getty Images 2009

Updated 12 p.m. Friday

Minnesota motorists would get a holiday from paying the state tax on gasoline this summer, under a legislative proposal announced Friday by a group of DFL members of the Minnesota House.

Rep. Zack Stephenson, DFL-Coon Rapids, said the proposal would suspend the tax from Memorial Day to Labor Day to give consumers some help as they deal with inflation.

Stephenson, who chairs the House commerce committee, said gas prices are causing a lot of stress for families.

“This is an easy way that the state can help out,” Stephenson said. “We have the money. We have a $7.7 billion budget surplus. So, we can temporarily suspend collection of the gas tax and relieve some of that pressure that inflation is causing.”

The gas tax is 28.5 cents per gallon.

Stephenson said the estimated cost of the holiday is $207 million, which he wants to pay back with money from the budget surplus. He said the plan will soon be introduced as a bill.

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DFL Reps. Kaela Berg of Burnsville, Jessica Hanson of Savage, Dave Lislegard of Aurora and Dan Wolgamott of St. Cloud are also involved in the proposal.

Stephenson said there is enthusiasm among House leaders for the plan, but he has not yet discussed it with Gov. Tim Walz.

“I think it’s an idea that everyone should consider,” he said.

House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, criticized the DFL lawmakers for previously supporting gas tax increases.

“When it's not an election year, Democrats support billions of dollars in gas tax increases. Now with inflation out of control, and gas and energy prices through the roof in the Walz/Biden economy, they're pushing a desperate and temporary gas tax holiday,” Daudt said in a statement. “Minnesota voters won't be fooled.”

Senate Majority Leader Jeremy Miller, R-Winona, was also quick to reject the idea.

“This is just another election year gimmick from the Democrats,” Miller said in a statement. “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.”