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Thursday, March 01– Ngarchelong Delegate Marhence Madrengchar and Airai Delegate Tmewang Rengulbai introduced the “Economic Relief Act of 2012” and a House Joint Resolution, written by Ngaraard Delegate Gibson Kanai, to “provide economic relief for the people of the Republic of Palau by temporarily reducing the tax burden on gasoline wholesalers and retailers, so that the tax savings may be passed on to consumers in the lower gasoline prices.”

 Per the Economic Relief Act of 2012, the gross revenue tax on gasoline will be reduced to only two percent (2%) for a one year period “provided however that the resulting tax benefits [are] passed on to consumers by reducing the purchase price of a gallon of gasoline at the pump by two percent or more.”

 A task force is also to be aseembled, by the Olbiil Era Kelulau (OEK), to hold public hearings to determine “if the increase in gasoline prices has a reasonable business justification or is the result of unconscionably excessive price.” Additionally, gasoline retailers will be required to provide the public with at least “two (2) weeks notice in advance of any increase or decrease in the retail price of gasoline.”

 Per the House Joint Resolution, OEK urges President Johnson Toribiong to create the aforementioned task force and to make the task force’s findings available to the Attorney General “any information gathered…that indicates gasoline wholesalers and/or retailers are taking unfair advantage of consumers, and that the Attorney General be asked to take appropriate action as deemed necessary.”

 At the time of publishing, the Economic Relief Act of 2012 had been passed and assigned to the Ways and Means Committee while the House Joint Resolution had been transmitted to the Senate.