WEST VIRGINIA (WOAY) – As gas prices still continue to skyrocket throughout the state, with some areas now reaching as much as $5.00 or more per gallon, lawmakers are trying to do something about it.
A conversation they have been grappling with for months, Democratic lawmakers from the West Virginia Legislature continue to advocate for gas tax suspension. A possible solution they first presented back in March, the Democrats further discussed incrementally lifting the state’s 35.7-cent gas tax for 30 days during a virtual press conference Tuesday.
With increased travel approaching for the Summer, they think that getting such gas tax relief is necessary for accommodating in-state residents and bringing in more out-of-state tourists alike.
“We in West Virginia can affect the state gas tax and we can do that right now and help put money back into people’s pockets,” says WV Senate Minority Leader, Stephen Baldwin. “There are two ways to do this, we’ve talked about this ad nauseam, we can do the gas tax relief, we can also provide a rebate to folks.”
Along with the discussion on gas tax rebates, holidays, and suspension, they are now working out a plan to circulate a letter to all 134 legislatures to get on board in helping to bring such relief.
In April, Democratic delegates proposed suspending the gas tax to Governor Justice for 30 days at a time while under a state of emergency, but his response was not what they were hoping for.
Now, as the situation is only getting more severe, they feel as though they are finally making some headway in influencing the governor and other Republican leadership.
“There’s no doubt about it, it’s a crisis on a daily basis,” WV Democratic delegate Shawn Fluharty says. “We’ve been trying for months to get this answer, for months to get relief through the gas tax suspension for West Virginians and finally it sounds like we may have some support from the governor, but I think it’s on all of us here today to hold his feet to the fire, to hold Republican leadership’s feet to the fire and get answers.”
Their hope now is for Gov. Justice and GOP members to officially get on board in taking action with providing gas tax relief during next week’s special session in Charleston.