State Lawmakers Okay Temporary Gas Tax Cut, Sales Tax Holiday on Certain Clothing Items and Free Public Bus Service

The state House of Representatives today overwhelmingly approved a temporary suspension of the state’s 25-cents-per-gallon excise tax on gasoline and a second, one-week sales tax holiday on clothing and footwear under $100. 

The legislation also included provisions for suspension of public transit bus fares.

The gas tax cut and the transit fare relief are effective for the final quarter of the 2022 state fiscal year—April 1-June 30th, and the sales tax holiday is scheduled to coincide with school vacation in April.

The temporary tax relief is projected to cost the state $93 million, while federal ARPA funds totaling $8.1 will be used to cover the free bus service.

Legislative leaders resisted pressure to open the debate to other potential tax relief proposals, including repeal of the Highway Use Tax on certain heavy vehicles, the Earned Income Tax Credit and incentives for electric vehicles, saying those conversations will have to wait for budget negotiations. 

The Finance and Appropriations Committees are expected to vote on tax and budget proposals, respectively, the week of April 4th. 

Senate Passes Extension of Outdoor Dining, Retail Activities; Poised to Adopt Tax Relief in Concurrence with the House

While waiting for the House to send it the temporary tax relief legislation, the Senate approved and sent to the Governor a measure that:

  1. Extends by 13 months, until April 30, 2023, the law that broadly permits the continuation of as-of-right outdoor dining and retail activities authorized by the governor’s executive orders during the pandemic.
  2. Correspondingly delays, from April 1, 2022, to May 1, 2023, the effective date of provisions requiring municipalities to allow, in perpetuity, outdoor dining as an as-of-right accessory use to a food establishment.
  3. Requires outdoor activities to be operated so that pedestrian pathways and means of access comply with the physical accessibility guidelines in the State Building Code.

As legislative committees complete their work over the next two weeks, activity will begin picking up with more frequent session days.  We will keep you apprised of important developments.  The regular session is scheduled to adjourn on May 4th.

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