Deal puts brakes on scheduled gas tax increase - CBS46 News

Deal puts brakes on scheduled gas tax increase

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Drivers in Georgia may not see a summer spike in gas prices.

On Tuesday, Gov. Nathan Deal announced he will stop the 15 percent motor fuel tax, which was scheduled to go into effect on July 1.

Twice a year, the Department of Revenue sets the tax based upon the average gas prices. Fuel prices have gone up 45 cents - from $3.21 to $3.66 - since January. The measure's enactment would have triggered an increase in the motor fuel tax, raising gas prices by nearly 55 cents and putting the price at the pump at about $4.20 a gallon.

"We're seeing a steady rebound in Georgia's economy, with our unemployment rate going down and state revenues heading up. But Georgians are still paying gas prices that are high by historical standards," Deal said. "To remove this financial burden on Georgia taxpayers and businesses, I signed an executive order suspending the motor fuel tax increase set for next month."

The governor can suspend the collection of a tax until the next time the General Assembly meets. They must then ratify the suspension.

"I'm in the transportation business, so I see every summer it magically will say increase 30, 40, 50 cents a gallon," said Rob Keuten. "I think it's something we've all become conditioned to but none of us like it."

Other drivers agreed they need a break from higher gas prices.

"I think it's awesome," said Tony Ellis. "I fill my tank up once a week, so it's about maybe 65 bucks every week. Every little bit helps."

The Department of Revenue sets the motor fuel tax every six months. Major fluctuations in gas prices can also trigger an increase or decrease within those six-month periods. 

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