ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia’s state taxes on gasoline and diesel will be suspended for another month after Gov. Brian Kemp extended the tax rollback in a Friday executive order.
The suspension of the taxes, at 31.2 cents per gallon of gasoline and 35 cents per gallon of diesel, had been scheduled to end next Thursday but will now run through at least Nov. 11.
The Republican governor last month revived what was a campaign tactic during his reelection 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.
Georgia’s governor can suspend the collection of taxes during an emergency as long as lawmakers approve it the next time they meet. In September, Kemp 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, although most economists say giving consumers more money typically increases inflation as well.
“With our partners in the General Assembly, we’ll keep working to put money back in the pockets of Georgia families,” Kemp said in a statement.
Georgia can easily afford to make up for the lost cash, which is used mostly for roadbuilding. Not only is its rainy day account full, but it has roughly $10 billion in additional surplus cash in state accounts. The state is also likely to run another multibillion dollar-surplus this year.
On Thursday, Georgia drivers were paying an average $3.20 per gallon of unleaded gasoline, according to motorist group AAA. That was the lowest price among the states and down 37 cents since Kemp suspended the taxes. The national average of $3.77 has decreased 7 cents per gallon in the same time.
Pump prices also include a federal tax of 18.4 cents per gallon on gasoline and 24.4 cents per gallon on diesel.