Gas tax freeze aims to ease pain at the pump

Updated:

ATLANTA —

 

With the swipe of a pen, the governor put a hold on the Georgia gas tax to save drivers from a 10 percent spike in July.

Since January, Georgians have been paying about 12 cents per gallon in state sales taxes. The cost was supposed to increase about one penny until Gov. Nathan Deal nixed the plan.

Channel 2's Sophia Choi obtained a copy of the governor's order to hold the line on gas taxes. If it went up a penny, Georgians would have paid $50 million more.

New state revenue figures show so far this fiscal year, Georgians have already paid 22 percent more in state gas sales taxes over last year.

Last fiscal year, the average tax was 10.5 cents; this year, the average is two pennies more, which is a difference of $95 million.

"The governor received letters from members of the general assembly encouraging him to freeze this gas tax, to help relieve taxpayer burden at the pump," governor's office spokeswoman Stephanie Mayfield said.

The governor's freeze does not stop a hike in the county SPLOST (Special Local Option Sales Tax) taxes, or the TSPLOST (Transportation Special Local Option Sales Tax) if it passes. Those taxes could increase about half a cent per gallon starting July 1.

The convenience store association notes with the addition of county taxes, Georgians have paid closer to $150 million for the gas tax this fiscal year, even though people are driving less and buying fewer gallons of fuel.