Monday 21 March 2022

Georgia and Maryland become first states to SUSPEND gas taxes to ease pain at the pumps after White House 'dropped plans to send out pre-paid gas cards' during skyrocketing prices

 Maryland and Georgia have temporarily suspended their gas tax as prices remain high and the White House dropped a plan to send out pre-paid cards to help Americans shoulder the cost.

Maryland on Friday became the first state in the nation to suspend its gas tax. Republican Gov. Larry Hogan signed legislation that wavied the 36.1 cents per gallon tax gas and its 36.85 cents per gallon tax on diesel, effective immediately, for the next 30 days.

Also on Friday, Georgia's Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed a similar bill that eliminates the state's roughly 29 cents per gallon gas tax through the end of May. 

Americans continue to face high prices at the pump even though there was a small sign of easement. 

Regular gasoline averaged $4.26 per gallon Sunday, per AAA, down about 7 cents from a week earlier, but still roughly $1.40 higher than a year.

The concern about the high prices, which has contributed to President Joe Biden's drop in approval rating, led the White House to consider a plan to give Americans gas cards to help offset high prices.

But the Biden adminsitration faced strong opposition from Congress, including many Democrats, which questioned the plan's viability and effectiveness, Axios reported.

The concerns from Congress: it would be expensive and poorly targeted, the cards wouldn't help lower prices and it would distract the IRS to send out as they were trying to finish up tax season. 

Several lawmakers have backed legislation to reduce the federal gas tax but those bills haven't made any major movement through the legislative process. 

Meanwhile other states are considering similar options to Georgia and Maryland.

Michigan's Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer also called on a temporary suspension of its 6% tax on fuel - a move she said 'will provide drivers relief at the pump right now - not next year.' 

In California, state lawmakers proposed a $400 gas rebate to help drivers with the soaring gasoline prices.

President Biden's approval rating has dropped in recent months with voters complaining about record inflation. The numbers have Democrats concerned headed into the November election as they defend their control of the House and Senate.  

A Wall Street Journal poll out earlier this month had tough numbers for the president, with voters strongly disapproved of his handling of the economy and inflation.

A majority of voters, 63%, said they disapproved of Biden's handling of the high costs they face with only 34% approving. It was his worst rating among the six policy issues in the poll. 

And Biden's overall approval rating was 42% compared to the 57% who disapprove of his presidency.

Additionally, 47% of voters said Republicans were better able to handle inflation, but only 30% said that of Democrats.

And, in a troubling sign for Democrats' prospects in November's midterm election, which will determine control of Congress, most voters - 45% - said Republicans had a better plan to improve the economy compared to 37% who said that of Democrats.  

The poll found 46% said they would vote for a Republican candidate in November compared to the 41% who would vote for a Democrat. 

The Wall Street Journal poll surveyed 1,500 respondents with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points. 

Poll after poll have shown Americans are frustrated with high prices for food, gas and rent and are blaming the administration. 

Biden and his administration has continually blamed the coronavirus pandemic and Vladimir Putin's invasion of the Ukraine for the high inflation.

'Let's be absolutely clear about why prices are high now are high for two reasons. One was COVID - the way the global economy works,' he said in remarks to the National League of Cities last Monday.

'Now a second big reason for inflation is Vladimir Putin,' he noted. 'Make no mistake - the current spiking gas prices largely the fault of Vladimir Putin.'


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