Perdue for a New Georgia, Inc. – www.votesonny.com – Georgia’s Governor Sonny Perdue
Starting at midnight, Georgia drivers will be exempt from paying the state motor fuel tax, Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue announced Friday. The moratorium should save motorists more than 15 cents per gallon and will continue through September.
Governor Perdue said he will sign an executive order to remove the 7.5-cents-a-gallon excise tax and the 4 percent sales tax on purchases at the pump. He said that even before Katrina and the subsequent run on gasoline, the state had already been collecting more than enough gas taxes for the current budget.
“By temporarily suspending fuel tax collection, I want to relieve some of the financial burden placed on Georgians by disruptions in our fuel supply resulting from the effects of Hurricane Katrina,” Perdue said during a Friday news conference.
Rising gas prices prompted by the disruption of two pipelines that carry fuel into Georgia caused a run at gas stations earlier in the week. That, combined with false rumors that the governor would ration gasoline and shut down gas stations, caused a panic by drivers on Wednesday.
Motorists spilled out of gas stations, many of which ran out of fuel. Other stations quickly pushed up gas prices, to which the governor signed an executive order that froze the price of gas. The Governor’s Office of Consumer Affairs is investigating claims of price gouging.
“As we take this action, let me be very clear. I expect this tax moratorium to be passed on to consumers and Georgia citizens who drive. We will be watching and we trust that our dealers will respect that and pass along this more than 15-cents per gallon savings to their customers each and every day.”
Because the moratorium must be ratified by the General Assembly, the Governor is calling back legislators for a special session starting on Tuesday. He encouraged Georgians to consider their problems from Katrina compared with those of the people who live in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi.
“I encourage every Georgian to do what you can. Give to the Red Cross, be extra conservative in your utilization of gasoline for a little while, and reach out to our friends and neighbors in need.”