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Miami-Dade Forgets to Renew Gas Tax, Loses Millions

County administrators realized too late that they needed to renew the local gas tax for another 30 years. Once the current law expires on Aug. 31 the tax won’t be renewed until Jan. 1, costing the county about $18 million.

a person filling up a car with gas
Miami-Dade County will pause a six-cent gas tax in September after administrators forgot about a pending 30-year renew.
(Miami Herald/TNS)
Miami-Dade County, Fla., administrators realized too late it needed to renew a local gas tax for another 30 years, a lapse that will cost the budget millions of dollars before the 6-cent levy kicks in again next year.

An item up for a vote at Tuesday’s County Commission meeting renews the local gas tax that’s authorized under Florida law. Miami-Dade last authorized it 30 years ago when the tax was created, and state law has it expiring on Aug. 31.

The county doesn’t plan to start collecting it again until Jan. 1, causing a four-month gap that will mean a 6-cent discount for consumers and a loss of about $18 million to county coffers, said Rachel Johnson, deputy chief of staff to Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.

Johnson said the state notified Miami-Dade of the pending expiration too late for the the county to take the required steps needed to renew the tax without a gap. She said administrators weren’t aware of the pending expiration before hearing from the state, leaving Miami-Dade no choice but to delay collecting the tax at the pump for 17 weeks.

Miami-Dade shares about a third of the gas-tax revenue with cities. A Levine Cava memo on the renewal vote said the county will cover the municipal costs, so the lapse won’t affect city budgets.

Johnson said the county will dip into remaining federal COVID-19 stimulus dollars to cover the lost revenue.

“No budget gaps exist for the county and municipalities,” Levine Cava said in the memo.

Diverting the federal dollars to cover the lost tax revenue means the COVID money can’t be used for other local needs.

The tax is budgeted to generate about $64 million this year. The tax funds road projects and other transportation needs.

©2023 Miami Herald. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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