The bill, H.B. 304, passed the Senate in a 55–0 vote on Thursday after the national average gas price reached its highest point ever recorded this month and currently sits at $4.27 per gallon as of Friday, according to AAA data. Georgia’s rate is almost right in line with the national average, costing an average of $4.22 per gallon, according to the same data.
The rate in Georgia represents an increase of nearly 60 percent over one year, and “increased fuel costs and sky-high inflation” could cost households an additional $2,000 annually, Kemp said in a video statement upon signing the bill. “Today I signed H.B. 304 to temporarily halt collection of the state gas tax and ease the burden consumers are feeling at the pump,” Kemp said. “We can’t fix everything that Washington has broken, but we are doing our part to lessen the impact on your wallet.” The governor attributed high costs to the Biden administration and observed that gas costs were already surging in the U.S. before Russia, one of the world’s top oil producers, invaded Ukraine. “Since the day he took office, President Biden and his administration have fueled inflation while hamstringing domestic energy production,” Kemp said.
The bill, which halts the tax through May 31, became effective immediately upon its signing, but as the Atlanta Journal-Constitution noted, the cost relief would take a period of time to appear at gas stations while already purchased and taxed fuel is sold to customers.
The bill comes as several other Republican governors mull proposals to lift their state gas taxes. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) proposed a temporary gas tax relief measure in November that could go into effect later this year, and Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) announced this week his proposal for a three-month gas tax holiday. Some Democrat governors, too, have recognized the bipartisan concerns over gas prices and have sought solutions in their states despite typically avoiding tax reductions and also pushing for alternative energy sources. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) signaled on Friday she would support suspending the state’s sales tax on fuel after previously indicating she would veto a gas excise tax suspension proposal, according to the Detroit News. Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) joined Whitmer and a handful of other Democrat governors this month in calling on the Biden administration to suspend the federal gas tax, but per local outlet NBC 15, Evers has refused to consider a state tax pause. In Georgia, Kemp said he anticipated signing additional legislation “in the coming days” as the General Assembly’s legislative session nears its March 31 end date. Kemp said, “In the coming days as we finish up this year’s legislative session, I look forward to signing more legislation to cut taxes, invest in our schools, strengthen public safety, and keep partisan politics out of the classroom.” Write to Ashley Oliver at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @asholiver.
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