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Governor suspends scheduled hike in gasoline taxes
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ATLANTA — Gov. Sonny Perdue signed an executive order Monday suspending a scheduled increase in gas taxes that would have taken effect on July 1.

“Georgians are already facing record gas prices, and raising taxes even higher would put further strain on families’ budgets and on our economy,” Perdue said. “Suspending these tax increases will benefit some of our most important industries, including agriculture, tourism, aviation and logistics, as well as every Georgian that buys gasoline.”

Legislation passed in 2004 requires the Department of Revenue to use recent gas prices to recalculate the state motor fuel and state sales taxes on fuels every six months. That percentage-based tax is converted to a per gallon rate which is readjusted every Jan. 1 and July 1.

Record gas prices at the pump over the past six months meant Georgians would have faced higher gas sales taxes at the pump.

Without Monday’s action, the state motor fuel and state sales taxes on gasoline would have risen on July 1 by 2.9 cents per gallon to 13.9 cents, a 26 percent increase. Perdue’s order will hold the tax at 11 cents per gallon, which is combined with an excise tax of 7.5 cents per gallon.

The suspension also freezes state motor fuel and state sales taxes on other categories of fuel, including diesel, aviation gasoline, liquid propane gas and “special fuels” which includes compressed natural gas. Taxes on diesel were set to rise 4.2 cents a gallon to 16.5 cents and taxes on aviation gasoline would have increased by 3.6 cents per gallon to 20.9 cents. Propane taxes would have risen 0.8 cents a gallon to 8.2 cents and taxes on compressed natural gas would have increased 2.9 cents per gallon to 13.8 cents. The suspension does not freeze or apply to any local sales and use taxes.

Pursuant to state law, the tax will remain frozen until the Georgia General Assembly meets again. The legislature has adjourned its regular 2008 session, which means the next meeting of the General Assembly is expected to be in January.

Monday’s action follows last month’s suspension of the state sales tax on off-road diesel used by farmers and timber owners, and off-road diesel used for mining and construction purposes.