New Mexico governor pushes price gouging law, says no to tax holiday

| Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Gov. Bill Richardson has rejected calls from some Republicans in the state to provide relief at the pumps by temporarily lifting fuel taxes in New Mexico .

Instead, the Democratic governor said he might call a special session of the Legislature if a governor-appointed task force finds significant evidence of fuel-price gouging in the state.

Sen. Joe Carraro, R-Albuquerque, recently suggested the fuel tax holiday idea.

Carraro told the Santa Fe New Mexican revenue lost by giving consumers a price break could be offset by dipping into the state’s surplus, caused in part by levies on oil and fuel producers.

Richardson said the state needs more than just “a piecemeal approach” to deal with New Mexico ’s rising fuel costs in the aftermath of the Gulf Coast storm.

Apart from looking at potential gouging, the nine-member group will be charged with coming up with a law to stop it, which Richardson has said he would endorse in the regular legislative session that begins in January at the latest.

Consumers in New Mexico who believe they may have been gouged at the pump should contact Richardson ’s office at (505) 476-2200 or on the Internet at governor.state.nm.us under “e-mail the governor.” Consumers can also call the Attorney General’s Office at 1-800-678-1508.

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