Posted: May 17, 2005

Some Republican lawmakers are calling for a tax rebate this year to offset the squeeze many Delaware families are facing from higher gasoline prices. With prices rising at the pump, Delaware families are paying out an average of $380 more this year to fill their tank. 

With the projected state surplus growing, the lawmakers believe it makes sense to give back some of the surplus to the people of Delaware. Sen. Charles L. Copeland noted, “This is an opportunity to give back to people what is theirs. A $500 tax rebate can be looked at as a ‘refill the tank’ rebate. It will help everyone and keep our state economy fueled, as well.” 

A tax rebate is the most direct way to help Delawareans face the unexpected squeeze on their family budgets. Sen. Colin J.R. Bonini pointed out, “When we find we have taken too much money from the taxpayers, which is what a surplus means, we ought to give their money back to them. The alternative is to grow government and taxes. Let’s face it, if you let lawmakers spend this windfall this year, then next year we’ll be looking to spend it again. Lawmakers in Dover have ever increasing appetites. I say they all need to go on a diet with me and give the money back to the people to spend.” 

Rep. Gregory F. Lavelle added, “Last year the General Assembly left over $80 million unused and off-budget. This year instead of hiding excess state revenues, we should rebate it back.  Tax relief is and should be a priority.  This is one idea that deserves serious and legitimate consideration by the General Assembly and the governor.” 

Lawmakers are urging the Joint Finance Committee to consider a tax rebate as it goes into its final two-week budget session. Rep. Gerald W. Hocker said, “We have the opportunity to help everyone in Delaware, not just giving pork to special interest groups.”  

Rep. Pamela J. Thornburg noted, “Let’s not forget whose money it is -- the taxpayers who earned it and gave it to the government. A tax rebate isn’t just a feel-good measure. It would offset the squeeze on Delaware families and keep our economy fueled.” 

Rep. Joseph W. Booth added, “In Sussex County many school bus drivers are feeling the pinch of higher fuel costs. They are not alone. Every driver in Delaware is feeling this in their wallet.” 

As drivers are well aware, gasoline prices have risen dramatically to an average of $1.97 per gallon in March 2005, up from $1.70 a year earlier. With approximately 600,000 registered drivers in Delaware, that increase means that the average two-car family in Delaware will pay out approximately $380 more per household this year for gasoline.