Governor extends suspension of Georgia’s gasoline tax
ATLANTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Gov. Brian Kemp on Wednesday extended the suspension of the state’s gasoline tax.
The tax is normally 31.2 cents per gallon of gasoline and 35 cents per gallon of diesel.
The gas tax suspension will remain in effect until 11:59 p.m. Nov. 29, which happens to be when lawmakers return to Atlanta for a special session.
Georgia’s governor can suspend the collection of taxes during an emergency, which Kemp has declared, as long as state lawmakers approve it the next time they meet.
That next session had been scheduled for Jan. 8, but will now be Nov. 29. That’s when Kemp called a special session to redraw Georgia’s congressional and state legislative districts after a federal judge ruled some districts illegally diluted voting power of Black people.
AT THE PUMP:
- On Wednesday, prices in Augusta averaged $2.79 per gallon, down from $2.85 a week earlier. Georgia’s gas price on Wednesday averaged $2.89 per gallon, down from $3.13 a year ago.
It’s unclear whether Kemp will ask lawmakers to extend the tax break by law during their special session. He could also declare another state of emergency after lawmakers leave and resume waiving taxes until January.
Kemp in September revived what was a campaign tactic during his re-election bid in 2022, when he signed a law suspending the gas tax with broad bipartisan support. Kemp signed seven separate extensions after that, with the state forgoing an estimated $1.7 billion in revenue from March 2022 to January 2023.
The second-term governor began waiving the taxes again in September when he issued a novel legal declaration finding that high prices were such an emergency. The 2022 suspensions came under a state of emergency related to COVID-19.
Kemp says tax relief for Georgians helps them deal with inflation that he blames on Democratic President Joe Biden, although most economists say giving consumers more money typically increases inflation, as well.
The governor has been rolling back fuel taxes worth about $180 million a month at the same time that his administration has been emphasizing that tax collections are declining, a sign that Georgia’s economy may be slowing. Tax revenues fell about 3% in October even though some fuel taxes were still flowing into state coffers after Kemp’s September action. Fuel taxes in Georgia largely fund roadbuilding.
Despite revenue declines, the state remains on track to run another surplus this year, unless the economy declines more sharply or Kemp and lawmakers ramp up tax givebacks.
You can read Executive Order 11.08.23.01 extending the State of Emergency here.
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