ViewPoint: Does the fuel tax suspension go far enough?

May 15, 2008

On Tuesday, Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue suspended the 4% Sales tax on "Off Road Diesel."

This is a good move to help Georgia timber owners and farmers during the planting season.  With years of drought and record high fuel prices, this is almost $4 million in tax relief.

We applaud the move.  There is no doubt just how important agriculture and forestry is to our state.  One of every seven Georgians works in Ag, forestry, or a related sector.  It is about 16 percent of Georgia's economic output.

Let's protect this economic engine the best we can.  But I am sure many of you are thinking the same thing I am-- What about the rest of us?  We are all hurting every time we pull up to the pumps.  And cutting fuel taxes for everyone would not be a long term answer.

Without taxes on gas and diesel used on the roads, there would be no money for paving and road improvements.  Maybe part of the solution will come from farmers and not just the corn crop used in most ethanol production.

UGA Research engineer Daniel Gellar says Bio fuels can come from many places.  "I think ideally what we'll see next is paper waste, wood waste, and corn stover, cotton stalks, all those things going in to produce all these bio - fuels from."

We call on our leaders to support our agriculture scientists to find the best and most efficient ways to produce fuel.  Because we know we can't depend on foreign fuel forever.