? State lawmaker calling for relief from high gas prices by suspending state tax

CNHI News Service

OKLAHOMA CITY ? An Oklahoma legislator is calling for suspension of the gas tax in Oklahoma for a three-month period to offer residents some relief from high gas prices.

The proposal would cut the price at the pump in Oklahoma by 17 cents a gallon from October through December.

Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Morgan is asking Gov. Brad Henry to call a special session of the Oklahoma Legislature to consider his proposal to suspend the gas tax in Oklahoma.

The senator said the state could pay for the lost revenue by taking $103 million from the state's $461 million Rainy Day Fund. State law allows withdrawals from the Rainy Day Fund for emergencies ? and Morgan considers the skyrocketing prices at the gasoline pump an emergency.

Georgia Gov. Sonny Purdue has suspended the tax on gasoline there through September.

"Oklahomans need emergency relief from the high price of gasoline and they need it now. I'm asking Gov. Henry again today to expand the call of the current special session to include suspension of motor fuel taxes in Oklahoma," Morgan said.

In the face of gas prices raised by the Hurricane Katrina disaster, the idea, unveiled last week in Oklahoma City, is gaining momentum nationwide.

Gov. Henry has said he is considering the proposal but hasn't committed to either supporting or opposing the bill.

The governor said he would first want to sit down with the House and Senate leadership and discuss the issue in detail.

Henry said the price of fuel is more of a national issue.

"There's little we can do at the state level," he said.

Morgan's office has already contacted the Georgia Governor's office to obtain the specific details of Georgia's plan, including the cost and the immediate relief they expect at the gas pump.

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