Northwest Indiana has a reputation as having cheap gasoline prices, at least compared to Chicago. But Hoosiers themselves don’t think gas is so cheap now, not with prices at more than $4 a gallon.
Indiana House minority speaker Pat Bauer, D-South Bend, says that’s reason enough to suspend the state’s share of the sticker price.
“Paying $4.17 for a gallon of gas is unconscionable. Meanwhile, we the state are charging 40 cents approximately in taxes,” Bauer said Thursday. “Suspend it, three monthsJune, July and August, to help people get to work in the summer months at least.”
Pump prices include Indiana’s 18-cents-a-gallon gas tax and a 7 percent state sales tax.
Bauer says the $100 million in savings is about equal to a proposed cut in corporate income tax, which Republicans support. Republican leaders in the Indiana house call Bauer’s idea a political stunt, and the GOP and Democrats can’t agree on exactly how much money is at stake.
Bauer says dropping the gas tax would cost Indiana about $100 million. Indiana House Majority Speaker Brian Bosma, a Republican, says that figure is likely to be three times higher.
“We can’t spend money that we don’t have,” Bosma said.