The Senate will consider the gas tax cut prior to sending the House income tax bill back.

Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann announced on Monday he is calling for Senators to cut the gas tax for at least six months in response to rising inflation in the state. Mississippi has an 18.4 cent tax on gasoline.

Hosemann said in recent conversations with the State Economist inflation has risen from roughly 2.5 percent to 6.8 percent since November 2021.

“The No. 1 concern citizens are discussing around their kitchen tables is the increased cost of goods and services,” Hosemann said. “Reducing what Mississippians are paying at the pump is direct and immediate relief to families.”

Hosemann said that suspending the tax for a six month period would cost Mississippi about $215 million, however, those that receive a diversion of the gas tax could be made whole through the Capitol Expense Fund.

The proposal is set to be added to HB 531, the House income tax cut plan, on Monday afternoon.

Earlier this session, the Senate passed legislation which would provide a boost of $300 million to the state’s Emergency Road and Bridge Repair (ERBR) Program. Hosemann’s gas tax suspension proposal would not impact this additional injection of one-time funds for critical infrastructure projects.

Enacted in 2018, the ERBR Program is administered by the Mississippi Department of Transportation upon the advice of an advisory board made up of industry and local government leaders. The program was initially funded with $250 million in bonds. The Legislature appropriated an additional $89 million during the 2021 Legislative Session.

Hosemann also added that the Senate will attempt to revive the postpartum care coverage for mothers on Medicaid that was killed in the House. SB 2033 was authored by Senator Kevin Blackwell and was the second attempt by the Senate to extend the coverage from 60 days to 12 months.

RELATED: Medicaid postpartum coverage bill dies in the House

The NFIB, which is the nation’s leading small business advocacy organization, Mississippi branch applauded Hosemann for his push to cut the gas tax.

Inflation is the major concern for small businesses, and rising fuel prices are making things even worse. Today, the statewide average is $4 a gallon, up from $3.75 a week ago and $3.15 a month ago. That has a tremendous impact on small businesses because the price at the pump affects the price of everything else. Suspending the fuel tax, along with eliminating the state income tax, will relieve some of the financial pressure on small businesses as well as their customers,” said State Director, Dawn McVea.