Gas tax holiday? Utah Republicans criticize President Joe Biden’s idea

Gov. Spencer Cox speaks at the PBS Utah Governor’s Monthly News Conference in Salt Lake City.

Gov. Spencer Cox speaks at the PBS Utah Governor’s Monthly News Conference at the Eccles Broadcast Center in Salt Lake City on Thursday, June 16, 2022. In a Tweet on Thursday, June 23, 2022, Cox criticized President Joe Biden’s call for a temporary suspension of the federal gas tax and said the proposal would lead to more deficit spending and more inflation.

Laura Seitz, Deseret News

On Wednesday, President Joe Biden asked Congress to temporarily suspend the federal gas tax to provide Americans monetary relief at the pump.

In a Tweet on Thursday, Utah Gov. Spencer Cox criticized Biden and said the proposal would lead to more deficit spending and more inflation.

“This is not the solution,” Cox said. “We can and should be producing more oil and gas at home.”

Currently, Americans pay a federal fuel tax of 18.4 cents per gallon of gasoline and 24.4 cents per gallon of diesel.

This isn’t the first time Cox hasn’t been in favor of removing a gas tax.

During a news conference in March, Cox was asked about removing the state fuel tax, 31.9 cents a gallon. He responded that it was a “really bad idea” and raised concerns about funding for the Utah Department of Transportation.

Cox hasn’t been the only Utah leader to criticize Biden’s proposal.

In a recent Fox News appearance, Republican Sen. Mike Lee called the move “treacherous” to the American people because it would drive inflation higher.

Lee said the revenue from the federal gas tax goes to keeping up the interstate system and questioned where the money would come from without the tax. He said it would lead to more borrowing and printing of money which would subsequently lead to increased inflation.

“That’s why this is treacherous,” Lee said. “This is wrong, and we can’t let it happen.”

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, also criticized the president saying in a tweet “the problem’s not the 18 cents, it’s the $2.00 hike since last year.”

According to AAA, the average price of gas in Utah as of Thursday is $5.19 a gallon, the highest on record. The average price of diesel in Utah is $5.69, also breaking records. Only a year ago, gasoline in Utah averaged $3.44 and diesel was $3.47.

Carlene Coombs

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