FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Gov. Andy Beshear said Thursday that he's taking action to freeze Kentucky's gas tax rate, preventing a looming increase as consumers struggle with surging fuel prices.
The Democratic governor said his emergency action will prevent an increase of 2 cents per gallon that would have taken effect July 1. Freezing the gas tax will save Kentuckians an estimated $35.4 million through mid-January of next year, Beshear said.
“I know that one of the biggest challenges of the present is gas prices,” the governor said in making the announcement at the start of his weekly news conference.
“It's harder for families to get to work," he added. "It costs them more to get their kids to school, to take their families to church or to go on a hard-earned vacation.”
Kentucky's gas tax is set by state statute, both in its rate and how it's calculated. The current rate of 26 cents was set to increase under a trigger mechanism, resulting in a price increase on both regular and diesel fuel, the governor's office said.
Funds collected through the state gas tax contribute to the road fund.
Beshear said the freeze will have “no material impact” on the state's transportation budget and won't affect any ongoing or planned projects.
Over the first seven months of the next fiscal year, the freeze will reduce budgeted road fund revenues by about 1.6%, he said. Beshear said he will propose that lawmakers dip into the state's massive General Fund budget surplus next year to replenish those lost road fund revenues.