RALEIGH, N.C. (WGHP) – A group of senators in Raleigh want the state to give you some cash to spend on fuel.
State Sen. Michael Garrett (D-Greensboro) is one of three primary sponsors – along with Sen. Dan Blue (D-Wake) and Sen. Sydney Batch (D-Wake) – who filed Senate Bill 897 on Thursday, proposing that every licensed adult driver in North Carolina get $200 from the state to apply toward spiking gas prices.
They are calling the measure the Gas Tax Rebate Act of 2022 and say it can be funded by spending $1.3 billion of the roughly $4.241 billion in surplus revenue the state has collected.
The bill stipulates that to qualify for the rebate, a person must be a licensed driver residing in North Carolina and at least 18 as of March 31.
The bill would become effective on July 1, and the state would distribute the rebate by no later than Oct. 1.
Garrett said in a brief text message that he thinks the bill has a chance to pass because “we crafted it this way to address all of the objections.”
“North Carolina families are seeing rising costs everywhere they turn, from the grocery store to the gas pump,” Garrett said in a statement released later Friday. “Our bill SB897, The Gas Tax Rebate Act, would provide much-needed relief to the people of our state.
“Our proposal provides to every North Carolina driver a $200 gas tax rebate, roughly what the average North Carolinian would pay in state gas taxes from July to December. This approach keeps the Highway Fund and the Highway Trust Fund whole, while still collecting revenue from non-residents passing through our state using our roads, highways and bridges.
“This is one of many inflation-fighting proposals being put forward by NC Senate Democrats this legislative session.”
Lauren Horsh, a spokesperson for Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Eden), wrote in an email that this idea didn’t go very far when addressing inflation.
“A one-time rebate that doesn’t cover the average additional monthly cost of Biden’s inflation is nothing more than a band-aid,” she said. “If we want to help North Carolinians afford their everyday expenses, we should focus on real long-term, permanent tax relief.”
Six other Democratic senators, including Gladys Robinson of Greensboro and Val Foushee and Natalie Murdock of Durham, signed on as cosponsors.
The average cost of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline reached $4.36 per gallon in North Carolina last week, which is lower than the nation’s $4.57 but still the highest recorded on a Memorial Day weekend.
Gas prices in Greensboro rose 12.4 cents last week, averaging $4.35 per gallon, Gasbuddy.com has calculated. Prices in Greensboro as of Sunday ranged from $4.09 to $4.69 and were about $1.43 a gallon higher than last Memorial Day. They are 60.2 cents higher than a month ago.“Gasoline prices surged over the last week to new record highs, but have finally started to slow their rise with diesel also finally cooling off,” Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, said in a release. “With more Americans planning to hit the road for Memorial Day this year compared to last, prices will be over $1.50 per gallon higher than last year.”
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