RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Gov. Glenn Youngkin will introduce emergency legislation to suspend Virginia’s gas tax for three months.
Youngkin announced on Wednesday that the bill would eliminate the entire state portion of the gas tax, an estimated $0.26 per gallon.
It means gas distributors – those who set the prices at the pump – will temporarily not have to pay the tax, according to the Code of Virginia.
Youngkin said the tax would be phased back in following the 90 day suspension.
The proposed legislation would result in the loss of $437 million in transportation funding. Youngkin’s administration claims that the Commonwealth Transportation Fund, which supports maintenance and construction, has over $1 billion more revenue than anticipated this year.
Youngkin said the bill will take effect immediately if it’s approved by the legislature in a special session. He said there is still no set date for lawmakers to convene.
“I would fully expect everyone to come together. There’s plenty of money in the system. We don’t have to reduce investment in anything to let Virginians get this break,” Youngkin told reporters.
The announcement comes after Senate Democrats and one Republican blocked a legislative push from Governor Youngkin to suspend a recent gas tax increase of $0.05 per gallon for 12 months. The proposal, which remained in the House’s budget plan, wouldn’t have gone into effect until July 1 if it survived negotiations.
Youngkin said the emergency bill is meant to replace his earlier proposal.
“The whole purpose of suspending the gas tax was to recognize Virginians have real needs to save money, and we need to do it now,” Youngkin said.
The announcement mirrors efforts in other states–both red and blue–to bring relief as gas prices rise.
The Virginia Senate Democratic Caucus responded in a statement shortly after Youngkin’s announcement.
“While we can understand Governor Youngkin’s desire to address high prices at the gas pump, fuel costs have actually been falling–40 cents per gallon in the last four days. The Commonwealth’s transportation budget relies on gas tax revenue,” said Majority Leader Dick Saslaw. “As final negotiations take place, we need to make sure we can provide relief for Virginians while still maintaining a robust and responsible budget.”
House Democratic Leader Eileen Filler-Corn said she’s looking forward to learning more details about the proposal. In an interview, she didn’t directly oppose or support it.
Filler-Corn did call the announcement a distraction as Youngkin continues to dismiss calls to trigger Virginia’s price gouging protections by declaring a state of emergency.
“He can provide immediate support for Virginians today and he has refused to act,” Filler-Corn said.
This is a developing story. Stay with 8News for updates.