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ATLANTA -- Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed an executive order freezing the state's gas tax at current levels on June 8, according to an Associated Press report. The order prevents an increase that would have gone into effect July 1.
The state gas tax would have risen 0.8 cents due to a formula tied to fuel prices. Every six months, the Department of Revenue analyzes the half-year's gas price and adjusts the state tax up or down.
Deal stated that Georgia's economy has slowly improved, with growing revenue and a decreasing unemployment rate, and that taxpayers should not have to take on the "burden" of a higher gas tax at this time.
"Georgians are still paying gas prices that are high by historical standards," said Deal said in a news release. "The state should not add to that burden at this juncture."
The current tax rate will stay in place for the rest of the year unless the price of gas goes up or down by more than 25 percent, in which case state and local gas taxes will automatically be recalculated to reflect the new price.
Alan Essig, executive director of the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute and a former tax analyst, criticized Deal's order, telling the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that it does not make "budgetary or economic sense." "Having that kind of cut to transportation funding seems problematic," said Essig. "The idea that consumers are going to see the positive impact is questionable."