Paolino, de la Cruz join call for suspension of state gas tax

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STATE HOUSE – Citing rising costs on everything from bacon to used cars, the state’s Senate Republican caucus has introduced a proposal to eliminate the state gas tax in 2022 in an effort they say would provide relief to residents as they grapple with staggering inflation.

“We want to direct the influx in tax revenue back to residents and provide relief from the crushing pain at the pump,” said Minority Whip Jessica de la Cruz of District 23 in Burrillville, Glocester and North Smithfield. “Our state budget is benefiting from inflation as the gas tax brings in new, unexpected revenue. Meanwhile, the people of Rhode Island are struggling to balance their budgets with no relief in sight.

The caucus points to a recent report from the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council that notes Rhode Island’s economic recovery is far behind the national average. The proposal would see the tax – which is 35 cents per gallon – eliminated for the year 2022, saving Rhode Islanders $150 million, according to proponents’ estimates. 

Senate Minority Leader Dennis Algiere of District 38 in Westerly, Charlestown and South Kingstown said the state can easily afford the tax cut in light of the current budget surplus and the resulting spike in sales tax revenue that will be generated by more consumer spending.

“If people aren’t spending as much on gas, they’re spending it elsewhere in the community.  On things they need for their family and at local businesses.  And that spending will not only help families when it comes to kitchen table economics and reducing financial strain, it will help the economy, too,” Algiere said.

A release on the proposal notes that the state budget surplus stands at $600 million, and points out that increased consumer spending could follow the temporary gas tax suspension.

“This tax cut will give families substantial relief as they deal with the relentless inflation affecting most sectors of the economy,” said Sen. Gordon Rogers of District 21 in Coventry, Foster, Scituate and West Greenwich.

A flyer promoting the idea notes that Rhode Island expects $2.5 billion in federal funding over the next five years to improve the state’s infrastructure.

“This gas tax relief will not affect RI’s infrastructure funds,” it states.

Sen. Thomas Paolino of District 17 in Lincoln, North Providence and North Smithfield said that small businesses, too, will see some relief by eliminating the gas tax.

“Our state’s small businesses have been struggling for the past two years,” Paolino said. “We need to do anything we can do to help them rein in their operating costs.”

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Why bother ? If the gas tax is eliminated the State will tax something else ! The State will not lose any money and they will always find a way to screw the tax payer. After all this is the TAXED to DEATH STATE !

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