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September 17, 2001

State Allows Extensions for Taxpayers Affected by Attacks
State gas prices level off following weekend inspections

CHICAGO -- Gov. George H. Ryan says the Illinois Department of Revenue will provide income tax filing extensions to taxpayers affected by the terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington D.C. Meanwhile, the Governor is also reporting that state inspections of gas stations have resulted in a rollback in gas prices in downstate Illinois.

Illinois has adopted the IRS administrative tax relief guidelines for affected taxpayers, primarily those with locations or tax records in New York City and Washington, D.C., that will extend income tax filing deadlines without fines or penalties for between one week and 10 months.

"Providing for a reasonable extension is the least we can do. We will not penalize taxpayers for the tragic circumstances this country suffered last week," Gov. Ryan said.

Meanwhile inspectors from the state's Agriculture Department are continuing on-site inspections at gas stations, in response to consumer complaints about exorbitant gasoline prices in the wake of last Tuesday's attack.

Since Friday, Department of Agriculture inspectors have visited more than 30 communities in every part of Illinois, including Springfield, Rockford, Peoria, Decatur, Bloomington, Belleville, Alton, Monmouth, Rock Island and Moline. Over the next 24 hours inspectors will be dispatched to communities in Eastern and Southern Illinois including Danville, Charleston, Marion and Mt. Vernon.

During inspections all computers and pumping equipment are checked for accuracy and inspectors make sure that advertised prices match the actual pump prices. A follow-up analysis of these inspections could lead to administrative sanctions or referral to the Attorney General for consumer fraud.

On average, a gallon of regular unleaded gas in Illinois costs $1.64 today. Last week, some downstate gas stations were charging as much as $4 a gallon.

"Our inspections achieved the desired result, opportunists are no longer looting consumers and we are seeing prices drop to close to what they where before last week's attack," Gov. Ryan said.

Unannounced inspections will continue until further notice. Consumers are asked to call 800-247-5010 to report irregularities in the cost of gasoline. To date, the statewide gasoline hotline established last week has received more than 4400 calls from consumers.

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency continues to operate its command center in Springfield where it is coordinating with federal, state and local law enforcement and public safety agencies. The center handles the state's response to any and all emergency situations including the surge in gas prices. It also coordinates volunteer efforts should the state of New York request assistance.

Governor Ryan encourages everyone interested in making a financial donation to the relief efforts in New York contribute to the "New York State World Trade Center Relief Fund."

New York State World Trade Center Relief Fund
P.O. Box 5028,
Albany, NY 12205
(800) 801-8092


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