Gov. Andy Beshear has filed an emergency order effectively freezing Kentucky’s gas tax – preventing a 2-cent increase per gallon that would have taken effect July 1.
The current tax rate of 26 cents was set to increase under a regulatory trigger, resulting in a price hike on both regular and diesel fuel. Beshear asked the Department of Revenue to file this emergency regulation to halt an increase.
“Kentuckians cannot afford to pay more, and I am committed to doing everything I can to help keep more dollars in people’s pockets,” said Gov. Beshear. “This law was never intended to hurt Kentuckians during tough times, but with rising prices and inflation, this increase would have a negative impact on our families and it is time to take action.”
The gas tax generates funds to build and maintain roads via the state Road Fund, which is up 2.3 percent, according to the Beshear administration. By freezing the increase in the gas tax over the first seven months of the fiscal year, the action will reduce the budgeted Road Fund revenues by 1.6%. To make up for the lost road fund revenues, Gov. Beshear will propose using funds from the upcoming General Fund budget surplus. The budget for next year also includes a 21% increase in transportation infrastructure dollars from the federal government.
The Governor also sent a letter to Attorney General Daniel Cameron, R-Kentucky, on Thursday asking for advice on whether he should declare a state of emergency in order to activate the price gouging statute and further protect Kentuckians.
Beshear is seeking re-election next year as numerous Republicans enter a primary race to take on the incumbent. Attorney General Cameron, Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles, Auditor Mike Harmon, and others have already entered the GOP primary.