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North Carolina Senate Democrats pitch $200 'gas tax rebate'

Gasoline Prices
Marta Lavandier
A customer pumps gas at an Exxon gas station, Tuesday, May 10, 2022, in Miami. Just as Americans gear up for summer road trips, the price of oil remains stubbornly high, pushing prices at the gas pump to painful heights. AAA said Tuesday, May 10, 2022, drivers are paying $4.37 for a gallon of regular gasoline.

Democrats in the state Senate on Thursday pitched their proposal to give $200 tax rebates to motorists in North Carolina, who are dealing with historically high gas prices.

Senate Minority Leader Dan Blue and other Democrats held a news conference to urge Republicans to consider the “gas tax rebate” legislation. The bill would direct the windfall be given no later than Oct. 1 to everyone 18 years and older with a valid North Carolina driver’s license, media outlets reported.

The money, which would come in the form of a check or debit card, could be used for any purpose. It's designed to provide near-term assistance to North Carolina residents and families struggling with higher prices for groceries and other necessities.

“We want to put more money in their pockets now,” Blue told reporters.

The tax rebate would cost $1.3 billion and come from the estimated $4.2 billion in revenue overcollections that the state predicts to have at the close of the fiscal year.

Republican leaders in the General Assembly also are looking at tax relief as part of their negotiations to adjust the second year of the two-year budget that begins July 1.

House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger said Thursday that the GOP might consider some kind of one-time rebate but that more permanent tax relief is preferred.

“I would like to see something that’s a little more broad-based and long-lasting as opposed to a temporary thing that may help with one tank of gas or two,” Berger told reporters.

Republicans have mentioned a potential effort to reduce the individual income tax rate more quickly than was laid out in the two-year budget approved last November. That measure is incrementally decreasing the personal rate from 5.25% to 3.99% in 2027.

North Carolina's motor fuels tax is currently 38.5 cents per gallon.

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