John Oxendine on Georgia’s Gas Crisis

September 29, 2008                                   Kathryn Ballou (404) 558-4905  


Oxendine Calls for Bi-Partisan Leadership Summit and Opposes Special Session   

Atlanta, GA – Georgia faces the reality of falling test scores, an historic gas shortage, unemployment at a historic high, a $2 billion state budget deficit, consumer bankruptcy filings that are the third highest in the nation, and another scandal at GDOT with dozens of vital projects at risk – the time for Action is now. 

One concerned Georgian has suggested we can change our official nickname from Georgia, the Peach State, to Georgia, the State of Crisis.  For many Georgians that might be all too true.

Hundreds of Georgians are calling out for help.  It is time our state government listened to them.  Governor Perdue is doing a good job, but he cannot do it all by himself. Governor Perdue did not cause this “perfect storm” and he deserves the advice and support of everyone in state and local government.

There is nothing more important than helping working class Georgians through this time of multiple crises facing Georgia.  Georgia faces a perfect storm:

Millions of Georgians understand our great state is in crisis.  This past weekend has brought unacceptable realities to the Georgia taxpayer:  

Georgia faces a grave and serious gas crisis.   

Most gas stations are out of gas. Many of those that do have gas have been forced to ration it.  

I have been to several locations across metro Atlanta observing and listening to Georgia taxpayers this past weekend.  I stopped at stations in Marietta, Chamblee, Peachtree Corners, Atlanta, Conyers and Decatur.  What I saw was a serious crisis; it demands extraordinary attention from Georgia state government.  

In Chamblee, local police had to provide oversight at a station to keep the peace and manage traffic concerns on Peachtree Industrial Boulevard.  Those officers were doing an outstanding job however, while they were providing order at that station, with four local police cars which were not on patrol in Chamblee neighborhoods, there was no deterrent to petty theft and other crime in other parts of the city.  

In stations across the region, taxpayers wait for an hour or more in line only to have an attendant have to tell them the pumps have run dry while they were in line.  

In station after station, thoughtful station managers are forced to ration gas at various limits to ensure there is some gas for as many people as possible.

One media outlet reports where a gas station tucked between Lawrenceville Highway and the North DeKalb Mall, a line of cars literally followed a fuel-filled truck as it pulled into the station at around 11 am on Sunday.

Spokespeople for the various refineries cannot provide a timeline for when the gas will flow back into Georgia at normal levels.  

Media reports state Georgia has the highest gas prices in the nation.   

Unfortunately for Georgia taxpayers there are equally severe crises hitting Georgia at this exact moment in time:   

Georgia is approaching a $2 billion deficit and August state revenue figures are down 7 percent from last year.   

Georgia’s unemployment rate is at a 15 year high.   

Georgia’s SAT scores have fallen for the second consecutive year; Georgia now ranks 47th in the nation.  

Georgia has the third-highest rate of consumer bankruptcy filings in the country, behind Nevada and Tennessee. Consumer bankruptcies statewide increased 23 percent in the second quarter of this year, compared with the same period last year, according to the National Bankruptcy Research Center.   

I maintain my call for Governor Perdue to convene an Extraordinary Georgia Leadership Summitof all the statewide Constitutional officers, the bi-partisan leadership of the Georgia General Assembly, the leadership of the Georgia Association of County Commissioners, the leadership of the Georgia Municipal Association, and representatives from the Georgia business community – the Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Businesses.  

Let’s meet for as long as it takes – at our personal expense – not the taxpayer’s expense – and focus on these issues in a non-partisan, united way.

Georgia faces unprecedented, multiple crises – we must go beyond traditional efforts at leadership and think creatively, outside the box, and we must all work together.  

The Democrats are wrong.  Georgia does not need a Special Session of the General Assembly that will cost the taxpayers even more of their hard earned dollars in these tough economic times.  What we can do is have the leadership of both parties in the General Assembly involved on a regular basis and any Member – of either Caucus – should be most welcome to be involved – but, at their own expense – not the taxpayers.  We need to work as a team; to work as the employees to the taxpayers of Georgia and work on these issues – now.  

Now is the time.  Georgians are calling on their state government by the thousands and we must listen and lead.  I offer Governor Perdue my support and ask him to take innovative action to unite all of us to help Georgia during this crisis


John Oxendine
Oxendine Working for Georgia

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