(The Center Square) — Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has signed an extension of the state’s motor fuel and locomotive fuel tax.
The governor also extended the supply chain state of emergency. The tax suspension and state of emergency run until Jan. 10.
“With another holiday season of travel and shopping upon us, 40-year high inflation and economic hardships due to bad policies from Washington, D.C. are still impacting hardworking Georgians,” the governor said in an announcement.
Kemp, a Republican, initially suspended the state’s gas tax of 29.1 cents a gallon on gasoline and 32.6 cents a gallon on diesel fuel in March when he signed House Bill 304. He has since signed several executive orders to extend the moratorium.
“This is welcome news for Main Street businesses,” National Federation of Independent Business State Director Hunter Loggins said in a statement. “Gas prices statewide have fallen by over $1.50 a gallon from the record $4.50 we were paying at the pump in June, but small businesses and their customers are still dealing with inflation that’s affecting the price of everything from raw materials to their monthly rent.”
Georgia typically collects between $160 million and $180 million monthly in motor fuel tax revenues. Revenue numbers from the state show it hasn’t negatively affected revenues so far, even as the state hasn’t collected roughly $1 billion since the moratorium started.
However, some have questioned the prudence of the policy, saying it is not sustainable to maintain an indefinite suspension of the tax.
Meanwhile, Kemp and other Republican leaders also want state lawmakers to give Georgians another $1 billion tax refund similar to one enacted earlier this year.
“While our state will meet its obligations, we agree that Georgians deserve to keep as much of their hard-earned money as possible,” state Rep. Jon Burns, R- Newington, nominated to be the next House speaker, said in a statement. “It is not our money – but rather it belongs first and foremost to the taxpayers.”
By T.A. DeFeo | The Center Square contributor