Kemp extends order suspending Georgia gas taxes until mid-August

FILE (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee) (Wilfredo Lee, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

ATLANTA – Gov. Brian Kemp extended the suspension of Georgia’s motor fuel tax for an extra month.

The Republican Kemp signed an executive order Friday extending the tax break that was slated to end July 14 until Aug. 13.

Kemp used the announcement to again blame Democratic President Joe Biden for high gas prices.

Kemp signed a law in March that passed with broad bipartisan support suspending the state’s gas tax through May 31. But with pump prices climbing again, Kemp has twice extended that deadline.

Under state law, Kemp can suspend taxes by executive order as long as state lawmakers ratify the action the next time they meet. Kemp abated gas taxes in 2021 during a pipeline shutdown, and former Gov. Nathan Deal suspended gas taxes multiple times.

Georgia’s gasoline price normally 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. The measure also abates Georgia’s taxes on aviation gasoline, liquefied petroleum gas and other fuels including compressed natural gas.

Those taxes normally collect about $150 million a month that Georgia uses to build and maintain roads, bridges and other transportation infrastructure. Kemp expects to make up the revenue from accumulated surplus or the state’s rainy day fund. Georgia had $1.25 billion left over after last year’s budget even after it decided to pay out $1.1 billion in one-time income tax refunds.

AAA says Georgia’s current average price per gallon is $4.35, which is below the national average of $4.84.

Kemp has been emphasizing his tax-cutting record as he runs for reelection against Democratic nominee Stacey Abrams.

WSB-TV in Atlanta reported that Abrams plans to launch ads at thousands of Georgia gas stations, calling on Kemp to extend the gas tax suspension through the end of the year.