See the source imageDemocrat Josh Shapiro is rolling out the first tax proposal of his candidacy for governor, saying Friday that he would use surplus state cash and federal pandemic aid to eliminate state taxes on cell phone bills, send payments to car-owning households and expand Pennsylvania’s rent and property tax rebate program.

Shapiro’s plan comes out as gas prices rocket upward, and cutting gas taxes have become a hot topic. It also comes as Pennsylvania’s bank accounts are flush from an economy juiced with federal pandemic subsidies and multibillion-dollar surpluses after a decade of stubborn deficits dating back to the recession.

“My plan is fully paid for and would provide real relief for Pennsylvanians today,” Shapiro said at a news conference in Pittsburgh.

Under the plan, households could get a $250 payment for each vehicle, paid for by federal pandemic aid.

At an estimated 8 million passenger vehicles in Pennsylvania, the cost would be $2 billion, but Shapiro’s campaign said some of those are corporate or government vehicles and won’t count.