Georgia’s governor declared a legal emergency over high gas prices Tuesday morning, signing an executive order to suspend state-level taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel.
The suspension of the 31.2 cent per gallon taxes (35 for diesel) lasts through Oct. 12, and follows a previous suspension which lasted from March 2022 to January 2023. The previous suspension cost the state government an estimated $1.7 billion in revenue – though this is hardly a hit for the state, which still has $10 billion in surplus revenue from the past budget year. Many eligible Georgians have already received tax rebates from the roughly $1 billion refunded to residents from this.
According to a recent Moody’s Analytics report, Americans in 2023 spend $709 more per month than they did two years ago, and $202 more per month than last year. However, inflation has overall been alleviating in recent months, with August showing a 3.2% rise in consumer prices since the previous year – a significant improvement over the peak of 9.1% in 2022
“While high prices continue to hit family budgets, hardworking Georgians deserve real relief,” Kemp said in a statement accompanying the executive order. “That’s why I signed an executive order today to deliver it directly to them at the pump.”
The governor says that Georgians can expect a gradual decline in fuel prices over the next few days.
Kemp ran his 2022 reelection campaign on promised cuts to gas, income and property taxes, promising an alternative to “Bidenomics.” The current suspension allows him to pivot the political conversation in Georgia to his efforts to combat inflation – and away from former President Donald Trump’s indictment at Fulton County Jail, which has seen Kemp under fire from far-right Republicans for pushing back against calls to punish the prosecutor.
Under state law, Kemp can keep suspending taxes as long as the order is affirmed by the state legislature – and with State House Speaker Jon Burns applauding the move, the governor is likely to have the needed support.