Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist said Tuesday that Florida should consider a temporary gas tax break as an inflation hedge.
“It’s very good for my fellow Floridians,” Crist said on CNN Newsroom. “They deserve it.”
Crist, a U.S. Representative and former Florida Governor, said he wanted an exemption through the end of the year on the state tax on gas “to reduce it about 26 cents per gallon per consumer.”
“That’s a good, right way to get people some relief, especially during the holiday season. These are important things. These are tabletop issues. These are things we need to be addressing,” Crist said. “I think that’s a great way the state of Florida can address (inflation) in a responsible fashion.”
Crist fleshed out the proposal with a statement.
“As our national recovery from the coronavirus pandemic continues, Floridians and all Americans are traveling more, and that means higher prices at the pump for working families. With the holiday season approaching, it’s time the Governor turned his attention to the real issues facing Floridians. Instead of convening a Special Legislative Session in Tallahassee that hurts our residents and businesses, the Governor and the Legislature should suspend the state gas tax for the rest of the year so that we can finally offer relief to hard-working Floridians and mom-and-pop small businesses being squeezed at the pump.”
Crist also wants President Joe Biden “to tap into the United States Strategic Petroleum Reserve.”
“This holiday season, let’s give all Floridians the gift of cheaper prices at the pump!”
Florida’s gas tax is currently 26.5 cents a gallon. Crist’s proposal would not address local option gas taxes nor the 18.4 cent federal levy. But in terms of what Tallahassee controls, it would seemingly offer a complete reprieve.
The Congressman says the holiday could be funded from state reserves.
Crist’s novel suggestion regarding inflation comes at a time when Floridians and other Americans chafe under burdens unseen in decades.
The September inflation rate of 6.2% was the highest year-over-year increase since 1990. Some suggest inflation is merely “transitory,” but indicators ranging from rent to grocery prices suggest the burden is acutely felt among those who can least afford it.
Crist is running for Governor, and his potential General Election opponent has been hammering the Biden administration on inflation.
“This inflation is real. This inflation is upending a lot of things,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said in Naples last month. “They said it was just going to be transitory. It’s not transitory. It’s real.”
The Governor hasn’t suggested a gas tax holiday to solve the problem. He has said inflation is beyond Florida’s control, while warning that children might not get toys for Christmas because of supply chain issues.