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Kemp and Warnock both say it's time to pause gas taxes

Kemp extends fuel tax suspension
Kemp extends fuel tax suspension

In a rare show of bipartisanship, Georgia’s Republican governor and one of its Democratic US Senators are in agreement on at least one issue.

Both Governor Brian Kemp and Senator Raphael Warnock want to put the brakes on gas taxes, at least for a little while.

Speaking on Tuesday, Kemp wouldn’t say how long he wanted to suspend state motor fuel taxes for, but a bill to do that could be introduced in the Georgia General Assembly as early as Wednesday. Meanwhile in Washington, Warnock has been pushing for a suspension of the federal gas tax as well.

Both moves come as gas prices soar on the heels of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. On Tuesday, President Biden announced a ban on US imports of Russian oil, a measure likely to further increase fuel prices.

Motorists in Georgia pay 18.4 cents per gallon in federal taxes and an additional 29.1 cents per gallon in state taxes. Some localities also charge gas taxes of their own.

While a suspension of the state motor fuel tax could put a dent in state revenues, Governor Kemp said that it wouldn’t affect his election-year plan to hand out $1.6 billion in state income tax refunds.

Martin Matheny is WUGA's Program Director and a host and producer of our local news program 'Athens News Matters.' He started at WUGA in 2012 as a part-time classical music host and still hosts WUGA's longest-running local program 'Night Music' which is heard on WUGA and GPB Classical. He lives in Normaltown with his wife, Shaye and dog, Murphy.