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Getting Answers: continued efforts to suspend Mass. gas tax

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gas money(Source: MGN)
Updated: Jun. 7, 2022 at 6:00 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - Gas prices in the Bay State are now averaging $5 a gallon and we’ve learned there’s a new effort among state legislators to suspend the state gas tax through the summer.

By suspending the state’s gas tax, the average price you pay at the pump could potentially go from $5 to $4.74.

“On every opportunity that I’ve had to vote to suspend the gas tax, I’ve done so. People need immediate relief and I don’t see any reason why we can’t suspend the gas tax now,” said State Senator John Velis.

Velis told Western Mass News that he has supported efforts to cut the state gas tax. However, there hasn’t been enough Democratic support to pass it, but what does the general public think about getting 24 cents off the price of a gallon?

“Well, if they can do that, yeah of course. [Reporter: why?] So it can be cheaper for me to put in gas,” said Jennifer Natal of Springfield.

“Twenty-four for cents. Wow, that’s it? Oh my God, I mean, at this point, take what you can get, but 24 cents isn’t much of a difference,” said Nicole Plaza of Springfield.

A concern some Democratic lawmakers have is the revenue from the state gas tax not getting replaced in the budget. State Senator Eric Lesser, who is running for lieutenant governor, explained why he is now in favor of a gas tax suspension through the summer if certain conditions are met.

“I do think that a temporary suspension, if we make assurances that the state’s bond rating is not impacted, and very important that infrastructure projects, road, and bridge repairs, and other really important construction projects aren’t impacted,” Lesser noted.

Lesser told us proposals to suspend the state gas tax are currently underway at the State House. Meanwhile, State Representative Carlos Gonazalez remains opposed to the cut. He said the focus should be on the oil companies.

“We put the blame specifically on the oil industry. That’s gouging the prices of the gas at the gas pumps and they’re making record numbers of profit,” Gonzalez explained.

We also asked State Representative Orlando Ramos if he is in favor of the state gas tax cut and he said no, so some Democrats are still against it.