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Tipsheet

It Turns Out There's a Whole Bunch of Receipts on How Democrats Are Changing Their Tune on Gas Prices

AP Photo/David Zalubowski

From state legislatures, to Congress, to the White House, Democrats have had a losing message on providing Americans with relief from record-high gas prices. As Spencer has covered throughout the day on Thursday, President Joe Biden is tapping into the oil reserves. On Wednesday night, Zack Budyrk highlighted for The Hill how it's Big Oil that is the target for Democrats leading up to the midterms. 

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Earlier this month, I highlighted a particularly absurd story of how six Minnesota state Democrats introduced a gas tax holiday proposal, only for five of them to then vote against it when it came up for a vote. While this is a particular example of pandering, there are plenty more where this came from. 

Gas prices are at record-highs throughout the country, but in California, the state average is at $5.896, according to AAA's map on gas prices. In parts of the state like Los Angeles County, it's $6.038. The highest appears to be in Mono County, where it's $6.693.

Earlier this month, KUSI News reported "California Assembly Democrats to propose $400-gas rebate Thursday." Mentioned in the article was that the proposal "comes after Democrats in the California State Assembly voted down a bill proposed by Republicans to temporarily remove the gas tax in the state in order to bring relief at the pump."

In addition to the Biden administration's failure to tap into our own domestic energy resources, California gas prices are rising due to SB1, a law from 2017 that was signed by then Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat. Reporting from CBS 8 San Diego last July noted that the law "incrementally raises the fuel excise tax each year to help fund road and bridge repairs. It is an overall 51.1 cents per gallon making California's total state taxes and other charges on gasoline the highest in the country. Since SB1’s passage in 2017, California’s gas tax has increased by 21 cents." 

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Just as bad as the pandering, is the fact that such pandering is in reality too little too late. Early last month, Illinois Policy made an apt point about Gov. J.B. Pritzker's proposal to temporarily block the automatic annual gas tax increase for fiscal year 2023, with Patrick Andriesen noting that "the election-year promise offers little real savings compared to the cost he imposed when he doubled the tax in 2019." Andriesen also argued the repeal should be permanent. Last June, Noah Shaar wrote for Illinois Policy that the state's gas tax had increased 206 percent in three years. 

In some blue states, Democrats have proposed tax relief after they've already blocked Republican efforts. This includes New York. Under the Climate and Community Investment Act, the tax gas in New York would have a gas tax of 98 cents, the highest in the nation, Bill Gaylor warned in a column for LI Herland last June. 

As Nick Reisman reported earlier this month for Spectrum News, though, State Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara called for a suspension of sales tax on gasoline. "The proposal from Santabarbara comes afte rRepublican lawmakers earlier this year called for action on a variety of inflationary issues facing consumers, including a suspension of the gasoline tax," Reisman added. 

The state gas tax increases have had an effect for years, too. In June 2013, almost nine years ago now, such legislation passed in Maryland. Earlier this month, David Collins, reporting for NBC 11, shared how Republicans are hoping to repeal a provision from 2013, or at least pause it. "Republicans said current law that started in 2013 is partially responsible for the increased prices because the law mandates the increase of gas taxes annually based on inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index," he wrote. 

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It's not just Democratic legislatures, either, unfortunately. Democratic governors have hindered efforts from Republican lawmakers, such as in Michigan, where Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has long been at odds with the legislature. 

Just as she had promised she would, Gov. Whitmer earlier this month, vetoed Republican-led legislation that would suspend the state's 27-cent per gallon gas tax.

In other news at the federal level, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Thursday came out against suspending federal gas taxes, as Cristina Marcos reported for The Hill. 

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