Conservative leaders across the country are grappling with a spike in the cost of gas as they look to cut government spending.
Some leaders are blaming President Donald Trump, who has promised a $1,000-per-gallon tax on gasoline, and Republican lawmakers, who are working on a bill to tax carbon dioxide.
Here’s what they’re saying.
▪ Canada’s finance minister says $5.5bn cut for health care and social programs in 2018The Canadian government is cutting $5 billion from its social programs and health care programs in the coming year, Finance Minister Charles Sousa said Friday.
That includes $1 billion to provide grants for children and $1.5 billion for the Ontario Public Health Agency to help reduce rates of heart disease and stroke.
▲ Trump’s administration warns against cutting government spending Trump’s office said Thursday it is “deeply concerned about the proposed tax and other measures that would result from the proposed gas tax.”
Trump is expected to unveil his first budget on Thursday.
He has said the gas tax would be the “worst tax ever passed in the United States.”
“This is a great opportunity to reduce government spending, to reduce taxes for Americans and to invest in infrastructure and education, and that is what we are doing,” Sousd said in a statement.
Sousa was responding to a report in The New York Times that said Trump’s budget plan would cut spending for health and education programs by nearly $1 trillion, or nearly 20 percent of the federal budget.
The Times said Trump would slash spending for federal employees by about 5 percent and eliminate or scale back other tax breaks, including the earned-income tax credit and the child tax credit.
The proposed tax would also cut the federal government’s investment in research and development by $400 billion over 10 years.
Trump’s administration also announced it would stop issuing new tax returns and instead focus on hiring more people for the military.
The move comes as Trump has pledged to make it easier for Americans to file their taxes and as the economy continues to slow.
Earlier this week, Trump suggested the gas taxes could be reduced in 2019 if they were tied to inflation.
“The real question is, if we were to have a lower tax, is it going to be $1 per gallon?
And the answer is no,” he said during a rally in Nashville.
In his statement Friday, Soussaid the government is working to create a new program for those eligible for federal unemployment benefits, but it’s not yet clear if that program would include gas tax relief.
“We have been talking to a number of federal departments and agencies to find a way forward that allows us to keep all of our essential services, including those that support health care, nutrition, housing, social assistance and many other essential programs,” he added.
It’s unclear whether the administration will pursue other options, such as ending the program and eliminating gas taxes altogether.
Democrats, Republicans and others have long pushed for a gas tax cut.
But the proposal has been stalled in Congress for years, and most lawmakers have opposed it.
The Senate and House both passed a bill in 2017, but the measure stalled in the Senate because it did not include the gas-tax proposal.