Miami-Dade Commission ends impromptu ‘gas tax holiday,’ renews collections in 2024

Pumping gas at gas pump. Closeup of man pumping gasoline fuel in
Motorists will forgo paying a 6-cent surcharge on fuel through New Year’s Eve while the county loses about $18 million.

Miami-Dade motorists will again be paying 6 cents extra per gallon of gasoline in 2024 following a lapse in county collections this year caused by an administrative error.

County Commissioners voted 6-3 to reinstate the tax through Dec. 31, 2053. It had expired Aug. 31 after Miami-Dade’s budget director, David Clodfelter, realized too late that the fuel levy was up for a 30-year renewal this year.

Doug Hanks of the Miami Herald first reported on the oversight July 13. By then, there was not enough time to renew the tax, and the county estimated a shortfall of about $18 million in its budget it said would be filled from a pool of remaining federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars.

The following week, Mayor Daniella Levine Cava described the loss as a “gas tax holiday” before suspending Clodfelter for 10 days without pay. She said her administration considered increasing other taxes to compensate for the lost revenue — including another local 2-cent gas tax that could be raised to 5 cents with Commission approval — but decided against it.

The Florida Department of Revenue had sent Clodfelter a June 14 reminder about the tax’s nearing expiration. It said the county had until July 1 to inform the state it had renewed the tax. But by then there wasn’t enough time due to mandates in the Miami-Dade charter requiring public notice of the ordinance, two votes by the County Commission and a 10-day delay before the measure takes effect to allow for a mayoral veto.

Commissioners René García, Roberto Gonzalez and Raquel Regalado voted against the ordinance to bring the surcharge back next year, which Anthony Rodriguez sponsored.

Regalado told Florida Politics she would have liked to see the county seek other options with the state before clearing ARPA funds to fill the gap. She said she and others had “a lot of questions” about how the lapse had occurred.

“There’s a million different things you could do with ARPA money than plug this hole, so you could at least fight the fight assuming you had semi-clean hands,” she said. “We don’t really know what happened other than the state sent us this letter and told us we missed it.

“The other thing is … technically, the way the county works, who is responsible for the following up on the funding is the department that has the money in its pro forma, and that department was Transit and Public Works, not the Finance Department. So that was another question.”

A memo from Chief Administrative Officer Carladenise Edwards said the estimated annual revenue from the tax is $63.76 million. Of that, the county would receive $44.89 million and municipalities would get $18.87 million based on population and lane miles countywide.

The tax had been in place since Sept. 1, 1983, when it was a 4-cent optional levy. An additional 2 cents were imposed in 1985.

Funds from the tax are used for various roadway and right-of-way maintenance purposes, including drainage, street lighting, traffic signs, engineering, pavement markings, bridge maintenance and operations, debt service, construction and equipment storage.

Resident motorists pay approximately $36 through the tax yearly.

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.

One comment

  • Earl Pitts "Gas Tax Authority" American

    September 6, 2023 at 9:02 pm

    Good evening America,
    Dook 4 Brains Leftist incompendency on full display down in that 3rd world $☆¡t hole known as Miami/Dade.
    I, Earl Pitts “Gas Tax Authority” American was asked to look into this gas tax error down their in Miami/Dade. I sadly had to advise that the problem has Zero to do with Gas Tax and 100% to do with Stupid.
    And I, Earl Pitts American dont do “stupid”.
    “My Big ‘Ole Butt”
    Thank you America,
    Earl Pitts “Earl Dont Do Stupid” American

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704