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Georgia House Passes Plan To Ease Pain at the Pump

On Friday, the Georgia House of Representatives unanimously approved a bill to temporarily halt the state's motor fuel taxes through May 31 as gas prices continue to spiral partly because of the response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The measure now goes to the Senate for consideration.

Governor Brian Kemp announced the proposal Tuesday, and the GOP leaders of both chambers — House Speaker David Ralston and Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan — are backing it. The measure passed the state House 150-0, and if the Senate approves the bill, it will take effect as soon as the governor signs it.

State Sen. Blake Til­continued from page

lery of Vidalia noted, “Over the past year, the average price of a gallon of gas has risen from $2.59 to $4.06 (nearly a 56% increase). Researchers estimate that the average American household could spend upward of an additional $2,000 per year on gas as a result of skyrocketing oil prices. This doesn’t even take into account the ongoing inflation that has already impacted families across the state.”

He added, “The cost of this legislation is approximately $180 million a month, so it's not cheap! But I believe this is a necessary step to help provide relief to Georgia families and businesses working to untangle an already stressed supply chain.”

District 156 Representative Leesa Hagan of Lyons also weighed in on the proposal. “On Friday evening we passed critical legislation to provide relief to Georgians at the gas pump. The price of gas has increased dramatically over the past year and has skyrocketed even further since the Russian invasion into Ukraine began. We expect gas prices to continue to rise, especially since President Biden halted the import of Russian oil into our country.”

She added, “We appreciate the President for taking a stand and putting economic pressure on Putin; however, Georgians are experiencing the fallout. In response, we passed House Bill 304 as the request of Governor Kemp to allow him to suspend the state motor fuel excise tax.”

Breaking Down the Gas Tax 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. The Governor’s proposal would also abate Georgia’s taxes on aviation gasoline, liquefied petroleum gas and other fuels including compressed natural gas.

The proposal is not unprecedented. During the Colonial Pipeline shutdown in 2021, Kemp suspended the gas tax to provide relief while the company recovered from a cyberattack. Georgia Tax Revenue Surplus The Governor said a tax revenue surplus puts the state in good stead to cover the temporary losses from motor fuel taxes.

Georgia ran a $3.7 billion surplus in the budget year that ended June 30, filling its rainy day fund to the legal limit and leaving $2.3 billion in additional undesignated surplus.

On March 9 Kemp restated his intent to provide state income tax refunds to Georgians, $250 for single filers, $375 for single adults who head a household with dependents and $500 for married couples filing jointly.

'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,' said Kemp.

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