Will Gov. DeSantis’ plan for gas tax suspension make the final budget?

TALLAHASSEE – Gov. Ron DeSantis in November announced his plans to suspend the state’s 26.5 cent per gallon gas tax. He pushed the idea again during his State of the State address in January.

But as gas prices hit record highs, the gas tax suspension is nowhere to be found in this year’s tax cut package passed by the House.

“I think we are considering some elements of the governor’s proposal on gas tax,” said Rep. Bobby Payne, R-Putnam County.

What is there is a back-to-school sales tax holiday for two weeks. A new one-year exemption for baby clothes and diapers. Children’s books will be tax exempt for three months. Energy efficient appliances get a break. And there is a new “tool time” sales tax holiday for working Floridians.

When it comes to the governor’s billion dollar plan to cut the gas tax for up to five months, there are problems.

“Some of the pump owners, some of the station owners actually will retain a lot of that, so and how much merit do citizens, and how much relief do citizens of Florida actually get when we have a lot of them — so many people are from out of state, visitors,” Payne said.

Payne, chair of the Committee on Ways and Means, says stay tuned.

“I believe it will be worked out,” he said. “We’ll present our offer, the Senate will give us their offer back, and we’ll come to some common ground pretty quickly.”

Just over 48 hours remain in this year’s regular legislative session.

House and Senate negotiators expect to meet late Wednesday and make a decision on what part of the gas tax holiday is acceptable.

A statement from the governor’s office says in part: ”The governor wants gas to be affordable to all Floridians and is willing to reduce tax burdens to make this possible. At this point, it is up to the legislature to pass these measures in the final budget.”

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