From the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic to the global inflation caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, many Hoosiers are struggling to make ends meet. Our state government can help alleviate some of that burden by suspending the state gas tax.
This month, gasoline taxes in Indiana are expected to reach the highest they’ve ever been in state history. Indiana is one of only 16 states in the nation that subjects gasoline to sales tax – and Hoosiers will be expected to pay 75 cents for every gallon of gas they purchase. As your State Rep., I’m calling on Gov. Eric Holcomb to follow the lead of Georgia, Maryland and Connecticut and suspend the state’s gas taxes to help Hoosiers.
Suspending the gas tax would have a tremendous impact on Hammond residents. According to census data, the average Hammond worker has a longer commute to work than most Americans. Driving roughly 26 minutes each way to work every day takes a toll on one’s gas tank and wallet. Furthermore, nearly 3% of Hammond residents are “super commuters,” meaning they drive 90 minutes or more each way to get to work and back. Suspending the gas tax motorists must pay each time they fill their tanks will save the average Indiana driver $12 per fill-up and roughly $630 a year.
Think about what a difference $630 a year – $52 a month – could have on your life. Hoosiers deserve the ability to save money and put food on the table for their families. Suspending the gas tax would help give Hammond residents a bit of a break at the pump and a chance to put money aside.
This move would not be without precedence. In 2000, Gov. Frank O’Bannon suspended the gas sales tax in Indiana for three months when gas prices hit $1.80. The suspension saved Hoosier motorists a combined $46 million. Adjusting for inflation, $1.80 in 2000 would amount to $3.01 in 2022.
Currently, Indiana gas prices hover around $4.18 per gallon. If history repeats itself, suspending the gas tax for just a few months could save Hoosier drivers nearly $77 million.
Consider what that saved income could do to boost local economies throughout the state. As many Indiana businesses are still on the road to complete recovery after several unpredictable years of the pandemic, Hoosiers having the ability to support local businesses will allow our economy to grow. Further, businesses move where businesses are supported. Having strong local economies and businesses will inspire entrepreneurs to bring their companies to Indiana, bringing job opportunities with them.
We also cannot ignore the fact that suspending the gas tax could help alleviate some of the political polarization many Hoosiers are feeling. A recent poll from Politico found 73% of voters support a temporary break from federal gas taxes, and 72% support a break from state gas taxes. This policy tends to poll higher with Republicans than Democrats, at a 50% support rate compared to 43%. By suspending the state gas tax, we have an opportunity to not only help Hoosiers save money and strengthen our local economies, but to help bridge some of the political gaps that have developed in recent years.
I continue to urge Gov. Holcomb to show Hoosiers he’s truly working on behalf of Hoosiers by suspending the state gas tax. Easing the cost of living in Indiana and helping local businesses thrive is the least a legislature can do for our constituents.