Gas tax increase delayed until December
by Mark Andrews
Jun 28, 2011 | 2652 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jeff Cline fills up a Bartow Cab Co. vehicle Monday afternoon. Cline said the tax increase delay is a positive, but the recent increases in gas prices has affected the company’s revenue.
SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
Jeff Cline fills up a Bartow Cab Co. vehicle Monday afternoon. Cline said the tax increase delay is a positive, but the recent increases in gas prices has affected the company’s revenue. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
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Gov. Nathan Deal on Thursday signed an executive order that delayed an approximate 1.6 cent per gallon gas tax until Dec. 31, but drivers and businesses are still feeling a burn at the pump this summer.

"The total taxes that motorists pay in Georgia in total federal, state and local taxes is about 35 cents a gallon right now," said Jim Tudor, president of the Georgia Association of Convenient stores. "[Saving 1.6 cents] is certainly helpful, but understand that it's not going to make any significant difference in the retail price."

Georgia's gas taxes are made up of several parts, the first being a charge of 7.5 cents per gallon that doesn't change. The second is a more volatile per-gallon charge that can go up or down as the gas price varies.

Joe Frank Harris Jr., interim president of the Cartersville-Bartow Chamber of Commerce, said he was conscious of the effect gas prices have on residents and local businesses, but was positive about any breaks that could generate economic development and tourism during summer months.

"You know how much gas prices have gone up. ... Our biggest thing is to Buy Bartow, and when you free up money that helps us more to Buy Bartow, it's really helpful when times are so tough, and so I'm sure most Bartow County businesses would appreciate the governor's help in these challenging times," Harris said. "We're just now in Bartow County seeing a lot of positive signs of coming out of a difficult period and having this extra cash to buy more Bartow would help us all. In addition, so much of our economy is based on tourism in Bartow County ... anything to get tourism and travel dollars through Bartow County would help our local economy and we would be grateful."

The executive order Deal signed last Thursday means the rate will remain at 12.9 cents a gallon rather than rising to 14.5 cents a gallon. The order comes after a 3 cent gas tax increase in May.

"Our position has always been that any time gas prices go up for any reason, it's never been a good thing for retailers because people have to spend more money on gasoline and they have less money to spend on the items inside our stores," Tudor said.

Deal spokesman Brian Robinson said Friday, June 24, the governor decided to act on a freeze this time because the state sales tax would be rising even as the price of gas is falling and Georgians had already been hit with an increase. The tax would rise because it is based on average gas prices over six months.

The state expected the increase to account for $40 million in revenue, with $30 million going toward transportation and $10 million toward the general fund.

Jeff Cline, day shift manager at Bartow Cab Co., said the delay is a positive, but that the increase in the price of gas over recent months has effected revenue.

"[The price of gas] affects us really good," Cline said. "We run 12-hour shifts, and our guys are spending anywhere from $60 to $80 a day in gas just to run around town."

As of press time Monday, the price of regular gas in Bartow County ranged from $3.49 to $3.69 a gallon and diesel ranged from $3.73 to $4.29 a gallon.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.