Democrats from the West Virginia Legislature held a press conference on the state capitol lawn, with a gas station in the background, to call on Gov. Jim Justice to suspend the state gas tax for 30 days.
West Virginia charges 35.7 cents in taxes per gallon of gas or diesel fuel. Suspending that tax for 30 days would cost the state approximately $35 million, according to the minority leadership from both chambers.
House Minority Leader Doug Skaff, D-Kanawha, estimated that would mean $8 to $10 per fill up, depending on the size of the vehicle.
“Think about how many times you fill up your car, that money can go back and help West Virginians, all West Virginians,” he said.
Senate Minority Leader Stephen Baldwin suggested the governor could make up for the reduced tax revenue with money from his contingency fund. The tax revenue is used to pay for maintenance on the state’s highways.
“We want to be able to work with department transportation,” Baldwin said. “We want to backfill these funds, using either surplus funds, using available funds as needed to make sure that this does not hurt the state at all, we think we’re able to do that.”
Virginia and Maryland have both suspended their gas taxes, or are in the process of doing so.