Governor Brad Henry says he has problems with plan to cut gas tax

Thursday, October 6th 2005, 3:10 pm
By: News On 6

McALESTER, Okla. (AP) -- Governor Brad Henry says he has problems with a proposal to suspend the state fuel tax for three months to help offset the rising cost of gasoline.

Henry, who was in McAlester Wednesday for a groundbreaking ceremony, said he is concerned that consumers might not benefit if the state were to temporarily eliminate the 17-cent gasoline tax and the 14-cent diesel tax.

"The way gasoline prices have fluctuated, we're very concerned that, if the state was to suspend its gasoline tax, if it would be passed on to the consumer," Henry told the McAlester News-Capital.

Senate President Mike Morgan, D-Stillwater, had proposed after Hurricane Katrina that the Legislature meet in special session to pass legislation to cut the tax from October through December. He said the state could pay for the lost revenue by taking $103 million from the state's $461 million Rainy Day Fund.

Henry said that in Georgia, where fuel taxes were temporarily suspended, retailers didn't pass the savings to consumers.

Also, House Speaker Todd Hiett has indicated he's not willing to call the state House back in special session to address either eliminating the fuel tax or supplemental funding for the Department of Corrections. Henry said he's still ready to go into a special session to boost corrections funding.