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Senate Delivers Emergency Fuel Price Relief Legislation to Henry, Legislative Leaders

(Oklahoma City) – Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Morgan announced today that copies of the “Emergency Fuel Tax Relief Act” were distributed this morning to the offices of Governor Brad Henry, House Speaker Todd Hiett, Senate Republican Leader Glenn Coffee and House Democratic Leader Jari Askins.

“The Emergency Fuel Tax Relief Act,” as contained in Senate Bill 2X, includes Morgan’s plan to save Oklahomans $1 million a day for the final three months of the year by suspending the 17-cent per gallon state tax on gasoline from October 1 through December 31.

Morgan emphasized that the bill delivered to other state leaders “isn’t a rough draft.”

“This is legislation that I’m prepared to have the Senate vote on as early as next week. If the governor will expand his special session call and declare an emergency, the Legislature can return to the Capitol in a matter of days and have it on his desk, ready for his signature in a matter of days,” Morgan said.

The Senate Leader first proposed a three-month suspension of the state tax on gasoline and diesel fuel in a press conference September 1. After the Republican Governor of Georgia followed the lead of Oklahoma Senate Democrats on September 3, Morgan again called on Henry to expand the call of the current special session and declare a fiscal emergency that would allow lawmakers to use money from the state’s bulging Rainy Day Fund to replace state revenue lost by suspension of fuel taxes.

Friday, Morgan acknowledged that, over the last week, Henry has been dealing with the more immediate issue of managing of Oklahoma’s part in the response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina.

Nine days after he first announced his proposal, Oklahomans still need relief from the high price of gasoline, however.

“Even now that that gas has dropped below $3 a gallon in most places, filling up is still taking a huge toll on the budgets of Oklahoma families and small businesses,” Morgan said.

He said the high price of gasoline is soon going to start causing the prices of other consumer goods to increase.

“Suspending the gasoline tax for three months will give businesses a break on their transportation costs and hopefully that will slow the rise in the cost of groceries and other products – increases that working families just can’t afford,” Morgan said.

The Senate Leader said he hopes to discuss the “Emergency Fuel Tax Relief Act” with Governor Henry and legislative leaders in the next few days.

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