Governor Desantis seeks to lower gas prices across the state

Published: Nov. 22, 2021 at 5:19 PM EST
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GAINESVILLE/CAP NEWS, Fla. (WCJB) - Governor Ron DeSantis made stops at two convenience chains Monday to announce plans to lower gas prices by suspending the collection of the state’s 26.5 cent-a-gallon tax.

State lawmakers won’t be able to act before consumers see an automatic increase of eight-tenths of a cent on January first.

Florida last cut the gas tax by eight cents a gallon, just for the month of August in 2004.

“I propose we lower the state gas tax by ten cents,” said then-State Representative Bob Henrique in March of 2004.

Henrique, now Hillsborough’s Property Appraiser, pushed the idea of a gas tax holiday.

“It’s costing me another $25 a week,” said Financial Consultant Doc Viker.

But at stops in Daytona and then Jacksonville, Governor Ron DeSantis announced plans to suspend the tax’s collection for up to six months.

“This will be many months and this will be over a billion dollars. So that will be real, meaningful relief for people,” said DeSantis.

The 2004 cut saw some hoarding gas, which hurt supply.

Some companies didn’t comply so the state set up consumer hotlines for complaints.

Florida’s 26.5 cent gas tax will automatically adjust for inflation, rising to 27.3 cents January first.

Two top Democrats competing to run against DeSantis last week called on him to stop the January increase.

Democratic State Rep. Anna Eskamani said despite the politics at play, it’s a good idea.

“It’s a worthy cut to discuss because it’s regressive and so it’s going to benefit everyday people,” said Eskamani.

And pool contractor Steven Gilmore told us if the tax goes down, he can start saving again.

“It would be good for me. I don’t know if it’ll be good for the budget,” said Gilmore.

The state does have billions in reserves and gas tax collections were up by half a billion last year over what was expected, so money isn’t an issue.

The cuts could come early next year and must be approved first by state lawmakers.

They begin their annual session on January 11th.

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