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State suspends diesel tax for off-road uses
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Gov. Sonny Perdue signed an executive order Monday suspending the collection of the state gas tax on diesel sold for off-road uses.

Gov. Perdue also signed several agricultural-related pieces of legislation during his visit to Farm Bureau headquarters in Macon: Senate Bill 515, House Bill 649, House Bill 1178 and House Bill 1088.

“Our farmers have borne the brunt of this multi-year drought, and now face record fuel prices during our planting season,” Perdue said. “Suspending this tax will bring needed relief to our state’s largest industry.”

Perdue discussed this idea with the General Assembly’s rural caucus toward the end of the 2008 session. The Georgia House and Senate each passed resolutions urging the governor to consider suspending the tax. The Georgia Farm Bureau has also asked Perdue to consider this action.

“Suspension of the sales tax on off road diesel fuel would help farmers, it would promote a major segment of our states economy, and it would allow for more money to be spent in local rural economies,” Georgia Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall wrote in a letter to the governor.

Suspension of the tax will save farmers and timber owners the four percent sales tax charged on off-road diesel. The state does not charge an excise tax on this type of fuel, and the executive order does not impact local taxes that are levied. The suspension is expected to offset state revenues by $2 million to $4 million. Off-road diesel is dyed red to differentiate it from on-road diesel, which is not affected by this suspension.

Pursuant to state law, the tax will be suspended until the General Assembly meets again. The legislature has adjourned its regular 2008 session, which means the next meeting of the General Assembly is expected to be in January.

The suspension is effective immediately.