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State representative discusses gas tax and other legislation to help businesses

By now, you’re familiar with the phrase, “pain at the pump.” Small businesses throughout the state have been hit hard by rising gas prices, but the Georgia General Assembly has passed legislation signed by Gov. Brian Kemp to suspend the gas tax through May 31, according to State Rep. Jodi Lott.

Lott, who represents District 122 in Evans, was one of six local legislators who attended the Post-Legislative Breakfast hosted by the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce on Friday, May 6. The others were Reps. Barry Fleming, Rob Leverett, and Dr. Mark Newton, as well as Sens. Lee Anderson and Max Burns.

State Representative Jodi Lott. (Photo by Josh Heath)

Lott said suspending the gas tax is especially important to some small businesses, such as trucking, service, and delivery companies, like Busby’s Heating and Air, located off of Gordon Highway. But she said it’s also important for getting employees to and from work each day.

“Almost everything we do touches our small businesses,” she said.

Busby’s Heating and Air company has been in business with a fleet of trucks since 1945.

As for Busby’s—they have a fleet of more than 35 vehicles out on CSRA roads. “We’ve been fortunate enough to take advantage of the lower gas prices over the last 2-3 months,” said owner, Rick Busby.

Lott said the General Assembly has also passed legislation that has improved small business employees’ access to health care. For example, in the 2022 legislative session, they passed the Mental Health Parity Act, which will require insurance companies to cover a portion of the costs of mental health and substance abuse treatment. Even help in Augusta area schools makes a difference in the bottom line. “When we fund education, we’re trying to grow your workforce.”

Some of the state legislators who attended the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce breakfast. (Photo by Josh Heath)

Besides serving as a representative, Lott is also a small business owner. She and her husband, Jason, own Evans Rehabilitation and Wellness, a physical therapy clinic that also has locations in Grovetown and Augusta.

The keynote speaker for the event was Brian Robinson, owner of Robinson Republic, a communications consulting company that primarily focuses on public affairs messaging throughout the state. Robinson served as Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications for Gov. Nathan Deal.

He discussed various topics, including Georgia’s current political climate, the upcoming governor’s race, and how former President Donald Trump’s endorsement of Sen. David Perdue could affect that race.

You can keep track of any updates on the gas tax on ABD’s website– something Rick Busby says he’ll adapt to if the suspension isn’t lifted.

“We’ll have to react just like every other company and budget accordingly.”

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