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Kemp suspends state gas tax for the last time

Gov. Brian Kemp signed an executive order Thursday suspending the state sales tax on gasoline for the seventh and final time since March, when pump prices began climbing after the outbreak of war in Ukraine.

The latest suspension will run through Jan. 10, the day after Georgia lawmakers convene under the Gold Dome for the 2023 General Assembly session. After that, Kemp will look to the legislature to help provide tax relief to Georgians in other ways, the governor said during a news conference at the state Capitol.

“We can’t continue to do what we’re doing with gas taxes,” Kemp said. “This was always intended as a short-term answer.”

Kemp, who was reelected to a second term in office last month, repeated a pledge he made on the campaign trail this year to push for an additional $1 billion state income tax rebate on top of the $1.6 billion tax rebate Georgia lawmakers approved this year. He also is asking the legislature for $1 billion in property tax rebates.

Incoming Republican legislative leaders appeared with Kemp Thursday to lend support to his tax cutting proposals.

“Georgians deserve to keep as much of their hardearned money as possible,” said House Majority Leader Jon Burns, R-Newington, the House Republican Caucus’ nominee to succeed the late David Ralston as speaker of the House. “It’s not our money.”

Providing additional tax relief shouldn’t be a heavy lift for the General Assembly. The state is sitting on top of a $6.6 billion budget surplus, which will make deciding what to do with tax dollars a lot easier.

In confirming he was suspending the gas tax for the last time, Kemp noted that pump prices have been falling. The average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gas in Georgia currently is $2.93 per gallon, according to AAA, down from $3.13 a month ago and well below this year’s peak price of $4.50 per gallon in mid-June.

This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.

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