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State lawmaker reacts to President Biden’s push to pause federal gas tax

Following Biden’s remarks, we brought questions to state leaders in Massachusetts to get answers on how this could affect us
Updated: Jun. 22, 2022 at 5:00 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - President Biden called on Congress on Wednesday to lift the federal gas tax and he’s asking states, including Massachusetts, to do something more to ease the pain at the pump that has crippled drivers for months.

Following Biden’s remarks, we brought questions to state leaders in Massachusetts to get answers on how this could affect us and what additional action they’re taking to help drivers.

“More and more people are talking about it, right? These prices are going up, they’re not going down. I mean, at what point in time is this pain just unbearable? I would argue we’re already there right now,” said State Senator John Velis.

Following President Biden’s message to Congress on Wednesday afternoon, which called for a three month suspension of the federal gas tax and asked for the same on the state level, Western Mass News spoke with Velis, who has been in support of cutting the state gas tax in Massachusetts.

“People are traveling, people are going all over the place. What it costs to fill a tank right now is ungodly,” Velis added.

We caught up with drivers at Pride in Chicopee to get their thoughts.

“It needs to be done. This is ridiculous. I’m putting $20 worth of gas in my truck every single day and it’s just not enough,” said Angela Guz of Springfield.

One Uber driver told us she’s losing money.

“I feel like I’m volunteering now for the community to deliver food because the profit is just not there,” said Melissa Robicheau of Chicopee.

According to GasBuddy, the price of gas is up to $4.87 in Springfield with the state average approaching $5 per gallon.

Western Mass News did the math. By subtracting both the 18 cent federal gas tax and the 24 cent state gas tax, it would bring the average price in Springfield to $4.45 and statewide to $4.53.

Velis said despite two previous Republican gas tax cut proposals being shot down, now is the time to reach across the aisle and act.

“I don’t need any more convincing. The hope is that when you have the President of the United States specifically saying state legislatures to do the same thing, the hope is that that would mean something,” Velis noted.

Velis also emphasized that built-up revenue would allow for the state to absorb any cuts to state funding that would come about through a slash to the state gas tax.