October-only gas tax holiday plan arose earlier than initially thought

National average gas prices are rapidly approaching $5 a gallon, and Florida isn’t far behind, with AAA reporting yet another record high for the state Friday at $4.82 a gallon on average.

In Georgia, drivers are currently saving 29 cents on the gallon thanks to the suspension of the state’s fuel tax, but in Florida, residents will have to wait until October for relief.

They’ll save 25 cents on the gallon throughout that month.

Governor Ron DeSantis called for a five-month holiday last November, but newly released emails between his staff and legislative staff show the idea for an October-only holiday arose as early as December.

The Governor blamed lawmakers in a March press conference for the holiday only lasting one month.

“There was a thought, well that they thought a lot of out-of-staters were gonna get all this other stuff, but I think it’s a way to reduce the pinch and we definitely would like to have seen even more,” said DeSantis.

But emails sent by the Governor’s Director of Legislative Affairs obtained by American Oversight show the Governor’s Office sent a draft bill back on December 1 to State Senator Aaron Bean’s staff that included an October-only holiday.

“I’m not surprised that the Governor played politics and only had one month, which happens to be in October, which what happens in November? A little election that goes on” said Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried.

Fried, a Democratic gubernatorial candidate, has been calling on the governor to declare a state of emergency on fuel prices to help lower costs.

“That would have allowed me an opportunity to basically waive one of the really important statutes that’s inside the commissioner’s office that would have allowed our bigger retail stores to reduce the cost at below cost to our consumers,” said Fried.

The governor’s office maintains the October-only holiday was a brainchild of state lawmakers.

“The one-month gas tax holiday was not a proposal of the governor’s, but the product of negotiated compromise,” said DeSantis Deputy Press Secretary Bryan Griffin in an emailed statement”, said DeSantis Deputy Press Secretary Bryan Griffin in an emailed statement.

The governor’s office also pointed to emails dated as early as December 7 and as late as February 16, showing the Governor’s staff did continue pushing lawmakers for a five-month holiday.

The Governor also included the five-month holiday in his budget proposal, which was published eight days after his office sent the draft legislation that included the October-only holiday.


[DOWNLOAD: Free Action News Jax app for alerts as news breaks]

[SIGN UP: Action News Jax Daily Headlines Newsletter]

Click here to download the free Action News Jax news and weather apps, click here to download the Action News Jax Now app for your smart TV and click here to stream Action News Jax live.