Democrat-led Colorado rejects Biden’s call for temporary gas tax holiday

President Joe Biden announced Wednesday that, in an effort to reduce high gas prices, he was calling upon Congress as well as the individual states to pass a three-month gas tax holiday and temporarily suspend collection of the per-gallon fees.

One Democratic-led state, however, Colorado, immediately made it known that they would not do as Biden had requested, the Washington Examiner reported.

To be sure, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) supports the temporary suspension of the federal gas tax, but that said, it was calculated that a suspension of the state-level tax would likely cause more economic harm than good for Coloradans.

Biden calls for federal and state gas tax suspensions

It was during a speech Wednesday that President Biden called upon Congress to pass legislation authorizing a three-month suspension of the federal gas tax, which imposes an 18-cent and 24-cent fee on each gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel, respectively.

Biden also called on the individual states to likewise suspend their own gas taxes or provide equivalent relief to their own citizens to help ease the pain felt at the pump.

In a press release issued after the president’s speech, Gov. Polis “commended” Biden for his request for Congress to temporarily suspend the federal gas tax — an idea he had already announced his support for previously — but made no mention of doing something similar in Colorado.

Instead, his press release highlighted other ways in which the state had already acted to help Coloradans save money during this period of rising inflation and high gas prices.

“Everything we do in our administration is focused on cutting costs and saving people money,” Polis said in the statement. “We’ve provided property tax relief, eliminated sales tax from items, and are putting money back in people’s pockets so we would love to see the Congress finally suspend the federal gas tax to save people money.”

Colorado says “No” on gas tax holiday — at least for now

As for a temporary suspension of Colorado’s gas tax, which is currently 22 cents per gallon, that is not something that the state will consider doing — at least, not right now, according to Axios.

Conor Cahill, a spokesman for Gov. Polis, told the outlet that the governor was “open to additional ways to save people money, including suspending gas fees and taxes, so long as the state legislature didn’t take the money from needed road repairs.” Polis might be more amenable to the idea next year, the spokesman said, if costs remain high.

Under the state’s current structures, it is estimated that $662.9 million will be raised by the state gas tax in the coming fiscal year, much of which funds state and local transportation projects as well as the state police and public safety, and that a three-month suspension would cost the state approximately $165.7 million in anticipated revenue.

Of course, all of this discussion of suspending gas taxes for a brief period may be a moot point, as the Examiner noted that there is strong bipartisan opposition to the idea in Congress, and it is also a safe bet that some, if not most, of the states will adopt a similar position as Colorado and say “no” to an idea that would provide minimal relief to consumers while costing states plenty of revenue for necessary infrastructure projects and other needs.

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