As gasoline prices in Indiana soar above the $4 mark, State Rep. Chuck
Moseley, D-Portage, is calling for a holiday from state gas taxes for
Hoosier motorists through the summer.
“It is rare to pass any gas station in this state that doesn’t have the
price for a gallon of gas lower than $4 these days,” Moseley said in a
statement released this week. “In fact, you’re more likely to see gas prices
inching toward $4.20 to $4.30 per gallon. This cannot come at a worse time
for the people of Indiana. We are still suffering from a poor economy, and
high gas prices are causing great pain for people just trying to get to work
Moseley is therefore proposing that the state suspend both the excise and
sales taxes which it charges on gasoline from Memorial Day through Labor Day
this year. Indiana’s gas tax is 18 cents per gallon, while the state
collects about 22 cents in sales taxes on a $4 gallon of gas.
“That means an immediate cut of 40 cents on a gallon of gas,” Moseley noted.
“I cannot think of a greater benefit for the people of Indiana as we head
into the summer, when most families are planning to take vacations.”
During the final days of the 2011 session of the Indiana General Assembly,
Moseley and other Democrats called for a gas tax break to be included in the
new biennial state budget. Their pleas were ignored by the Republicans who
control the House and Senate, who chose instead to pass a 25 percent cut in
state corporate taxes.
“When we were debating the new budget, many of the people who wrote that
bill took pride in the fact that it would contain more than $1 billion in
reserves at the end of the next budget cycle on June 30, 2013,” Moseley
said. “The idea of taking a portion of those reserves and helping people who
are in need now was the furthest thing from their minds, so a gas tax
holiday was rejected.”
“Such disinterest has been typical from the people in control of state
government,” the statement said.
“They just don’t seem very interested in doing anything about it,” Moseley
said. “Complaints about potential price gouging are greeted with a shrug of
their shoulders, and any concerns voiced about the cost of gasoline are
simply answered by saying, ‘What can you do?’ “There is something we can do.
This state does have the ability to suspend gas taxes, and I think it’s a
perfect way for us to tell the people that we understand the pain you are
facing at the pump. And if the gas companies use this moratorium as a way to
keep raising the price of gas, that’s when we get them for price gouging.”
“It’s very easy to say there’s nothing we can do,” Moseley added. “But I
cannot sit there and watch lawmakers ignore so much suffering, particularly
when they choose to gloat over the size of the state’s bank account instead.
Giving Hoosier drivers a break for the summer is the right thing to do, and
I believe we need to make the move now, not hope that prices go down.”