Putting money into the pockets of Delaware residents is the focus of a new House proposal, Republican leaders say.
Republicans in the House of Representatives announced they are currently working on a $100 million proposal that is designed to allocate $100 to every legal First State resident, regardless of age.
“This proposal is consistent with what our members have been proposing since early last year,” said House Minority Leader Danny Short, R-Seaford. “Our state experienced huge revenue surpluses last year, without enacting any significant tax reduction measures. We have again been gifted with large surpluses in the current fiscal year. There is simply no excuse for not moving forward with targeted tax cuts and rebates, returning some of this excess cash to our citizens.”
The proposal is designed to help state residents combat inflation and rising fuel prices.
Tim Dukes, R-Laurel, who serves as House Minority Whip, said the rebate proposal started as House Republicans were looking at limited time suspension of the fuel tax.
“With the dramatic rise in the price of gas hurting so many working families, we thought suspending the state fuel tax might provide a small amount of relief,” Dukes said. “Unfortunately, this was a tougher nut to crack than most people might realize.”
Currently, the state has a 23 cents per gallon tax on gasoline and 22 cents tax on a gallon of diesel fuel. Funds raised through the taxes go into the Transportation Trust Fund to pay for road projects, including payments on bonds.
According to the release, the state’s fuel tax can’t be decreased as long as outstanding bonds are being supported by revenue generated from the tax.
“I would have liked to have suspended the fuel tax from now through the July 4th Weekend, but Delaware law will not allow it,” Short said. “While it can be argued we could suspend or change the law, I do not think undermining sound fiscal policy is prudent.”
According to the release, Short and Dukes said the fuel tax suspension could create long lines as residents of other states, especially Pennsylvania, would pour into the state to take advantage of the savings.
Short said the $100 rebate to every legal resident would be a better way to help state residents deal with inflation.
“It is not just fuel that is going up,” he said. “We’re seeing across-the-board increases in the prices of dozens of essential items. It’s more important than ever to give Delawareans their money back.”
Under the proposal, Dukes said, state residents would see a total of $100 million returned to them, as the latest census puts the state’s population at 989,948.
“This is a responsible one-time distribution of surplus money that will not have any ongoing obligation for the state and will not impact future revenue streams,” Dukes said. “It also amounts to less than one-eighth of the current surplus, providing state lawmakers with plenty of remaining flexibility to consider other proposals.”
The bill, if enacted, would go into effect within 30 business days of passage.
This article was originally posted on House Republicans want to provide financial relief to legal Delaware residents