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State gasoline tax needs overhaul

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POSTED: June 25, 2012 3:00 p.m.

Good for the governor. Nathan Deal has refused to tolerate the upward movement of Georgia’s sales tax on motor fuels, which is supposed to be adjusted every six months to reflect the prices per gallon. Basically, he kept pump prices from going up 0.8 of a cent on July 1.

Frankly, the state’s entire fuel revenue situation — 7.5 cents flat on each gallon, 4 cents per dollar on the actual sales price — desperately needs repair. Not only does it result in a higher pump prices than found nearby, but it is basically unworkable in current times.

First, the global reduction in fuel demand as the economy sputters and war-torn nations come back online is dropping barrel prices. Second, Americans replacing their cars slowly with far more fuel-efficient models means fewer gallons get sold. The revenue from this source to build/repair/maintain highways is on a path of steady decline.

...That, in small part, is what the state’s add-on overall sales tax for transportation coming up for a vote July 31 is actually about.

However, that’s a short-term (10 years) fix. Deal, who plainly understands and appreciates what this means to citizens’ wallets, needs to take the next step and look for a permanent transportation funding solution that doesn’t rely so heavily on gallon levies, pump-price sales taxes ... or toll roads, either.

— June 15, Rome News-Tribune

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