Florida Gov. DeSantis proposes $1 billion in gas tax relief

Governor held news conference at Buc-ee’s in Daytona Beach Monday morning

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis proposed more than $1 billion in gas tax relief while speaking Monday at Buc-ee’s in Daytona Beach.

Continuing to contrast his economic approach to that of President Joe Biden, DeSantis said the approximately 25-cent-a-gallon “gas tax relief” proposal could save the average Florida family up to $200 over a five- to six-month period, while reducing state revenue by more than $1 billion.

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DeSantis said the issue will be discussed during the legislative session that starts Jan. 11.

“There’s a whole bunch of things that go into the price of gas. There’s different taxes -- federal, state, local level -- we’re taking over 25 cents from Florida, and we will basically zero that out for as long as we can and do over $1 billion.”

The governor, who was joined at the news conference by Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Kevin J. Thibault, said Florida is in great financial shape and can afford to make the move.

“We have surpluses. We have the ability to do what we need to do from a standpoint of infrastructure,” DeSantis said. “We have folks that are getting hammered by the rising gas prices, and so we’re here to do something about it. We look forward to be able to work through this with the legislature.”

DeSantis said the move is necessary to combat inflation.

Later in the day, at a Daily’s convenience store in Jacksonville, DeSantis said, “It’s clearly not going to eliminate all the inflation, because it’s gone up so much. But it will make a real difference in folks’ pocketbooks. And I think we’re going to get a lot of good support for that.”

Arch “Beaver” Aplin III, owner of the Texas-based Buc-ee’s chain, called the proposal a “phenomenal idea” and said he anticipates “most companies” will lower pump prices when the discount is enacted.

“If this, in fact, happens and they lower the tax, the day they lower it we’ll roll back the pumps the entire 25 cents instantly,” Aplin said.

Florida state Rep. Anna Eskamani tweeted about the proposal, saying cutting taxes should not be a partisan act.

“Cutting regressive taxes shouldn’t be partisan -- in fact when FL did a temporary gas tax cut back in 2004 it was bipartisan. The biggest point I’ll make rn is any policy must require savings be passed down to consumers & not swallowed up by gas companies. Enforcement matters,” the tweet said.

Florida has deep financial reserves because of federal COVID-19 stimulus money, and DeSantis said the reduction in gas-tax revenue won’t hinder the state Department of Transportation’s annual road program.

“We’re doing infrastructure, not just roads, including roads, also the water resources, all that,” DeSantis said. “We probably have never had such strong reserves in the history of the state. So, we have the ability to provide relief for people, and I don’t think we’re going to miss a beat.”

AAA on Monday announced that gas prices in Florida have surged to a new high this year.

Florida’s average per-gallon price stands at $3.36, the highest mark since $3.45 in 2013, according to AAA.

About the Author:

Penny De La Cruz started working at WKMG-TV in September 2021. Before joining News 6, Penny worked at KSAT 12 in San Antonio, Texas.