Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on Wednesday announced that he plans to suspend collections of state motor fuel taxes amid rising pump prices.
The Republican governor’s office said in a press release that in the past year, average gas prices in the state have risen more than 50 percent.
Georgia’s gasoline price includes a federal tax of 18.4 cents per gallon and a state tax of 29.1 cents per gallon. A number of cities and counties also charge taxes. Federal taxes on diesel fuel are 24.4 cents per gallon, while Georgia’s tax on diesel is 32.6 cents per gallon.
Kemp said he would work alongside Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan and House Speaker David Ralston to “take measures to alleviate the burden placed on Georgians.”
“President Biden took office in January of 2021, and to understand why we are in this current state of record-high inflation and costs to the average American family, people can simply track his first year of misguided policy decisions,” Kemp said in a statement.
“Because of our strong, fiscally conservative approach to budgeting, Lt. Governor Duncan, Speaker Ralston and I can confidently propose a state motor fuel tax suspension to curb sky-high gas prices while also returning money back to hardworking Georgians through a tax refund and an income tax cut,” Kemp said.
He added, “With this latest measure, we are making it even more clear that in Georgia, we are going to empower families to keep their money in their own pockets.”
The state government is currently expecting the Senate to approve legislation allowing it to refund to Georgians $1.6 billion in surplus state funds when they file their taxes this year.
According to Kemp’s office, the measures will take effect once he signs HB 304 into law, and will remain in effect through to May 31.
Georgia collected $157 million in motor fuel taxes in February and $1.78 billion in the budget year that ended June 30.
According to AAA, Georgia consumers were paying $4.06 per gallon of gas on March 8 including taxes, compared to a national average of $4.17, after some Georgia gas stations raised their prices by as much as 50 cents a gallon over the last week.
Kemp in May 2021 temporarily suspended fuel taxes in the state to offset increasing prices when the Colonial Pipeline was shut down due to a cyberattack. The taxes go toward state revenue for transportation projects and infrastructure across the state, which will now be paid for with some of the state’s surplus funds, Kemp’s office said.
On Tuesday, President Joe Biden told reporters that he “can’t do much” about surging gas prices. Some Democrats in the Senate have proposed a bill to freeze the federal gas tax for the rest of 2022. The White House has yet to indicate its views on the proposal.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.