July 28, 2004
TALLAHASSEE -- Florida motorists will save an estimated $59.7 million in gas taxes during August as the state gears up for its first-ever gas tax cut at 12:01 a.m. Sunday, August 1.
Enacted by lawmakers to provide relief for Florida drivers from this year's sharp spike in gasoline prices, the gas tax cut will cut state and required local gasoline taxes by 8 cents per gallon for the month of August. Florida gasoline prices have risen from a low of slightly above $1.50 per gallon for self-serve regular unleaded gasoline in late 2003 to a peak of more than $2 per gallon for the same grade of gas in June 2004.
"This gas tax holiday is a great opportunity for Floridians and our visitors to get a break on what seems to be the ever-increasing cost of gasoline," said Attorney General Charlie Crist. "The Legislature should be commended for recognizing that consumer budgets have been stretched by the recent record high prices."
State law requires that gasoline terminal suppliers, wholesalers, and retailers pass the full benefit of the gas tax cut along to consumers. State law provides that Attorney General Crist may prosecute violations. Such a violation is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to $5,000 in fines and up to five years in prison.
The tax cut represents a return of about one-third of affected state and local gasoline taxes to consumers. Florida lawmakers provided $58 million in general revenue to the State Transportation Trust Fund to make up for the impact of the tax savings without significant cuts in road maintenance or construction. The gas tax cut runs through midnight August 31.
While 12 states are conducting sales tax holidays during the summer of 2004, Florida is the only state in America that is providing tax relief through a gas tax cut, according to the national Federation of Tax Administrators.
To help motorists understand that they are intended to receive this tax benefit, the Florida Department of Revenue has mailed implementation instructions, posters, and decals for gasoline pumps to more than 11,000 gasoline stations in Florida, as well as to 400 wholesalers, and about 40 gasoline terminal suppliers.
The Department also has distributed public awareness announcements to Florida radio stations and asked the news media to alert members of the public to the gas tax cut. The Department of Revenue and Attorney General Charlie Crist's office are working closely together to implement the statute. For more information about the gas tax holiday, please visit the Department of Revenue Internet site at www.myflorida.com/dor.