(Media release from the Office of Governor Brian Kemp):
Governor Brian P. Kemp, joined by Lt. Governor-Elect Burt Jones, Speaker Jan Jones, and Speaker-Nominee Jon Burns, on Thursday announced he has extended the temporary suspension of the state motor fuel and locomotive fuel tax and the supply chain state of emergency until January 10, 2023. The state leaders also reiterated their support for a next phase of inflation relief through a second tax refund, equal in size to this year’s, and an extension of the homestead tax exemption that will be introduced in the coming legislative session. The executive orders signed can be found here.
“With another holiday season of travel and shopping upon us, 40-year high inflation and economic hardships due to bad policies from Washington, D.C. are still impacting hardworking Georgians,” said Governor Brian Kemp. “I’m thankful to have the support of these great leaders as we provide further relief to our citizens and urge those on the federal level to fix what they have broken so we can have lasting and sustainable relief.”
Because of Governor Kemp and the General Assembly’s fiscally conservative approach to budgeting, Georgia can extend the state motor fuel and locomotive tax suspension as well as implement the proposed budget items without further burdening taxpayers.
“Today, I am proud to stand with Governor Kemp to double down on the Georgia success story and put another two billion dollars back into the pockets of Georgia families next year,” said Lt. Governor-Elect Burt Jones. “A lot of folks in Washington, D.C. will continue playing politics and talking about problems. In Georgia, we are working together to actually get things done and deliver relief for the people of this state — and I’m proud to be part of that effort and that team.”
To further aid Georgians fighting through record inflation, Governor Kemp and the General Assembly worked together during the past legislative session to enact the largest state income tax cut in Georgia history, returned over $1 billion back to the taxpayers through a tax refund, passed the state’s first military retirement income tax exemption, and first suspended the state gas tax via legislation, saving Georgians 29 cents for every gallon of regular gas. Governor Kemp then renewed that suspension via monthly executive orders.
“Our House of Representatives has a clear track record of working for Georgia’s families – to help them keep more of their hard-earned money,” said Speaker Jan Jones. “We stand in strong support and shoulder to shoulder with Governor Kemp in bringing relief to Georgia families suffering under record inflation.”
The first tax refund, issued in 2022, returned over $1.1 billion to Georgia taxpayers. Governor Kemp has called for a second tax refund to be issued in 2023 of equal size.
“As we look forward to the 2023 session, we will work with Governor Kemp and our colleagues in the State Senate to return more money to taxpayers,” said Speaker-Nominee Jon Burns. “While our state will meet its obligations, we agree that Georgians deserve to keep as much of their hard-earned money as possible. It is not our money – but rather it belongs first and foremost to the taxpayers.”
Since the temporary suspension of the state fuel tax was implemented, Georgia’s average gas price has consistently remained one of the lowest in the nation and is currently $2.92 per gallon of regular gas, 40 cents below the national average, according to AAA. Since the state tax on motor fuel was first suspended in March of this year, Georgians have saved over $1 billion at the pump that they can then use on groceries, clothing and school supplies, and other necessities.
Governor Brian Kemp’s remarks from Thursday are below.
I’m proud to be joined today by several of our state’s great leaders, men and women who are eager to get to work in this coming legislative session for our fellow Georgians.
In a few moments, I’ll share more about our plans for the next few months, but I want to start by sharing again that I spoke with Senator Warnock yesterday, that we had a sincere conversation in which I congratulated him and we are committed to working together on issues where we agree so that we can keep moving Georgia forward.
Over the past four years, my administration has worked to ensure jobs and opportunity come to every zip code in our state and just this morning, my office announced the third largest economic development project in state history.
Four times in the past 365 days, we have made historic news of this caliber. When combined, those four projects alone will create over 20,000 new jobs and bring over 17 billion dollars in investment to communities all across the state, all of them in rural areas.
That’s the type of advancement I’m willing to work with anyone on to achieve, and it’s something that these great people next to me are also committed to.
So, I want to thank our nation’s best First Lady, Marty Kemp, Lt. Governor-Elect Burt Jones, Speaker Jan Jones, and the next Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives, Jon Burns, for joining me today.
For far too long, hardworking Georgians have had to fight record-high inflation, mostly due to bad policies coming out of Washington, D.C.
These and other members of the General Assembly have been key partners in helping us fight those added burdens.
Earlier this year, with their help, we enacted the largest state income tax cut in Georgia history. We also returned – through a special tax refund – over $1 billion back where it belongs, in the pockets of taxpayers, and enacted the state’s first military retirement income tax exemption. We also suspended the state gas tax via legislation, saving Georgians 29 cents for every gallon of regular gas.
As inflation continued to rise, I extended that motor fuel tax suspension and have renewed it six times by executive order. In total, we have saved Georgians well over a billion dollars at the pump, as a result. Those savings could then be spent on groceries, school supplies and clothing for their children, and other necessities.
Today, I have signed a seventh executive order, extending the gas tax suspension yet again until January 10.
This will allow Georgia families to use those savings on holiday purchases and the extra costs of this season that go into providing a merry Christmas for children, a happy Hannukah for families of the Jewish faith, a joyous New Year for us all, and the other important holidays celebrated by people throughout our diverse state.
This past week, I met with the legislative leaders beside me to discuss this latest measure, and I’m thankful for their support as we head into session when the General Assembly will have to ratify the additional months of suspension.
Thankfully, because we budgeted wisely and carefully and because of our conservative approach, we’re able to make up for the lost revenue in our state budget without impacting the taxpayers of Georgia.
As I renew this suspension, I also want to remind everyone that this was always intended as a short-term answer to a much larger issue – namely the failure of those on the federal level to work toward energy independence.
As I said when we first suspended the state gas tax, we can’t fix everything Washington has broken, but we’re doing our part to deliver relief. We have done that over these past nine months and now we’re calling on the Biden administration and those on the federal level to fix what they have broken so we can have lasting relief.
In the meantime, as this phase of inflation relief draws to a close, we’re moving forward with other legislative priorities designed to help the people of our state fight through sky-high housing costs and the weight of too much government.
As I shared on the campaign trail, I’m calling for a second, one-time tax refund of equal size to the first. Once again, it will give over 1 billion dollars back to Georgia taxpayers.
I’m also asking that we use an additional billion dollars to fund homeowner tax relief at the local level in the amended 2023 budget. This would save the average homeowner in Georgia between 15 and 25 percent – or around 500 dollars on average – on their local property tax bill next year.
Combined, between the suspension of the state gas tax, the first and second tax refunds, the cash assistance program we announced earlier this year, and the homeowner tax relief measure, we will have used over 5 billion dollars in funds to provide direct relief to the people of this state.
Again, I want to thank the men and women I’m proud to be next to today for supporting these measures as we head into the legislative season. I also encourage the members of each chamber to provide their support to the proposed budget items.
But rest assured, even after these “promises made” become “promises kept,” we won’t let up when it comes to fighting for Georgia’s families.
As small business owners for over 35 years, Marty and I know what it’s like to go through challenging times, wondering how you’ll make payroll or make ends meet.
The people of Georgia deserve better. That’s why I’ll continue to work with soon-to-be Lt. Governor Jones, incoming Speaker Burns, and Speaker Jones to provide relief where we can, and to urge those on the federal level to step up and do better for hardworking Americans!