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State leaders agree on pausing gas tax to ease price burden, but disagree on which gas tax to pause

steve carmody
michigan radio
"The truth is, what’s been put on the table is irresponsible," said Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist (D-MI), referring to a Republican proposal to pause Michigan's gas tax for six months

Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Republican legislative leaders are calling for a gas tax suspension to reduce pump prices. But they disagree about precisely which gas tax should be suspended.

In the past week, Michigan gas prices have risen to an average of $4.25 a gallon for regular gas. The Russian invasion of Ukraine and a new ban on Russian oil imports have spurred the price spike.

To give some relief to Michigan motorists, on Wednesday, the state House approved a pause of Michigan’s 27-cent-a-gallon gas tax for the next six months. The state Senate is expected to vote on the proposal next week.

The legislative action comes a day after Gov. Whitmer joined other governors in sending a letter to leaders in Washington asking for a suspension of the federal 18-cent-a-gallon gas tax.

“This is a serious situation that requires more than letter writing and the magnanimous gesture of asking someone else to foot the bill,” said Senate Major Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake).

But the Whitmer administration said the best way to bring down the price of gas without harming the state’s ability to “fix the damn roads” is by suspending the federal gas tax.

Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist spent part of Wednesday shoveling soft patch asphalt into a pothole in Freeland, near Saginaw.

Gilchrist has been filling a lot of potholes lately, as he promotes the governor’s plan to fix Michigan’s crumbling roads.

Speaking to reporters, Gilchrist blasted the Republican gas tax pause idea.

“The truth is, what’s been put on the table is irresponsible, and we’re ready to go to work with anyone who has a serious solution or serious plan for saving people money,” said Gilchrist.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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