MADISON, Wis. -- Gov. Tony Evers today, as average gas prices in Wisconsin near $4 per gallon after jumping more than 50 cents in the last week, is urging the U.S. Congress to act by suspending the federal gas tax. In a joint letter to U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, U.S. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, and U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Gov. Evers joined several governors in urging quick passage of The Gas Prices Relief Act of 2022, which would lower gas prices through the end of 2022.
According to the American Automobile Association, the& average price of gas in Wisconsin is currently $3.942 per gallon compared to $3.377 just one week ago on March 1 and $2.646 per gallon at this time one year ago. The Gas Prices Relief Act would help bring down gas prices by suspending the federal gas tax, which is 18.4 cents per gallon, until Jan. 1, 2023. Additionally, the Gas Prices Relief Act would require the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Treasury to monitor the program and take appropriate enforcement actions in order to ensure oil and gas companies pass savings from the gas tax suspension onto consumers, rather than using it to increase their profits. The legislation would also ensure solvency of the federal Highway Trust Fund by requiring the U.S. Department of Treasury to transfer general fund dollars to offset revenue lost from the suspended gas tax. This provision would protect the Highway Trust Fund’s ability to finance construction and maintenance projects on roads, bridges, and highways under the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
“From rising costs in grocery store aisles and at gas pumps to affording the costs of childcare and caregiving, I know folks and families are feeling the pressure of everyday costs going up,” said Gov. Evers. “Wisconsinites can’t wait for relief—they need help today. I’m urging Congress to find common ground and take action now to help lower gas prices so we can make sure families, farmers, and small businesses can make ends meet.”
The governors’ letter comes after the Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported the national inflation rate had reached its highest point in four decades. Gov. Evers has taken a number of steps to put more money in Wisconsinites’ pockets, including changes he directed to withholding tax tables, which, coupled with the governor’s previous tax cuts, will provide $551 to a single filer making $50,000 a year and more than $1,200 combined to married filers each making $50,000 a year.
The governor also recently announced a plan to use a portion of the state’s $3.8 billion projected surplus to provide a $600 surplus refund to every Wisconsin family of four, provide targeted relief for childcare and caregiver costs, and invest in education while holding the line on property taxes. After Republicans in the Legislature indicated they wanted Wisconsinites to wait for these tax dollars to be returned until the next biennial budget is passed in summer 2023, Gov. Evers signed Executive Order #156, calling the Legislature to meet in a special session earlier today to take up his plan.
The Gas Prices Relief Act would: suspend the 18.4 cents per gallon federal gas tax until Jan. 1, 2021; require the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Treasury to monitor the program in order to ensure oil and gas companies pass along the savings at the pump to consumers; encourage the secretary to take appropriate enforcement actions to ensure consumers see these savings; and maintain the integrity of the Highway Trust Fund by requiring the U.S. Department of Treasury to make general fund transfers to keep the Highway Trust Fund solvent.