Rep. Robert Leadbetter proposes ending gas tax

Rep. Robert Leadbetter, R-Berwick, is pictured during a legislative hearing earlier this month.

A state lawmaker wants to cut Pennsylvania’s gas taxes, which currently are among the highest in the nation.

Gas tax holidays were all the rage during the COVID-19 pandemic, but House Rep. Robert Leadbetter, R-Berwick, has a different idea. Rather than a holiday from the gas tax, Leadbetter proposes an elimination of the Oil Company Franchise Tax.

“As you are aware, from groceries to housing, our constituents are suffering from rampant inflation in this Joe Biden economy,” Leadbetter wrote in his co-sponsorship memorandum. “A major contributor to these skyrocketing costs is the price of fuel, and Pennsylvania is home to one of the highest gas taxes in the nation at 57.6 cents per gallon for gasoline and 74.1 cents per gallon for diesel. These high taxes are simply unsustainable for our constituents, which is why I will be introducing legislation to eliminate the gas tax starting on July 1st, coinciding with the start of the next fiscal year.”

The average price in the region rose to $3.71 while the average in Warren rose to $3.75, according to the AAA

East Central Gas Price Report. The trend held across the country as the national average rose seven cents to $3.46.

Pennsylvania’s gas tax is used to collect billions of dollars in revenue that are mostly used to pay for maintaining and improving Pennsylvania’s aging infrastructure.

Gas tax revenues have also been used to help pay for the state police, though lawmakers and Gov. Josh Shapiro have agreed to move those expenses into the state’s general fund budget.

Leadbetter wants to do the same by requiring the state’s general fund to offset the loss of gas tax revenue by requiring a deposit each year equal to the revenue that was generated by the gas tax in to the Motor License Fund, which will then be indexed to inflation the same way the gas tax has been.

“Please know my legislation will not authorize any new taxes,” Leadbetter wrote. ‘ I believe the General Assembly needs to live within its means, just like our constituents. By funding our roads and bridges from the General Fund, the General Assembly will be forced each year to cut wasteful spending in the budget in order to adequately fund roads and bridges.”

After five years of automatic increases, gas taxes in Pennsylvania are coming down a bit in 2024 from 61.1 cents a gallon to 57.6 cents a gallon and 78.5 cents a gallon for diesel to 74.1 cents a gallon, according to the state Revenue Department.


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