College student Jessica Novak is thrilled by Florida’s eight-cent gas tax rollback, but she was a lot less thrilled when we told her lawmakers took $175,000 out of the state budget to advertise the price break.
Motorist Robin Antill thought it was ridiculous too.
“Why should we take our tax money that could be used for something else to advertise that they’re lowering the gas?” she asks.
Lawmakers authorized a total of $310,000 total for radio advertisements, stickers and posters touting the gas tax break, plus the costs to administer the program. That’s just a fraction of the $60 million motorists will save in taxes at the pump over the month of August, but we still wanted to know why it was necessary.
How does the state justify spending $175,000, though, to let people know that they’ll be saving money on gas they’d be buying anyway? Would they really understand that they’d be entitled to an eight cent reduction? That’s why we sent these posters out, that’s why we purchased radio advertising,” says Bruns.
The idea was educated motorists would question stations that weren’t passing on the savings and the public pressure would force compliance, but there seem to have been other forces at work, too.
"At this point it would be very hard for me to substantiate that the compliance was solely due to our communications. In fact, what I have to say is there’s been a tremendous amount of voluntary compliance," adds Bruns.
Motor club AAA reports gas prices are now down more than eight cents a gallon statewide.