Seward: Spitzer Raising Gas Tax, Motorist Fees

James L. Seward

March 07, 2008

State Senator James L. Seward said today the governor's budget will raise costs for upstate motorists, including gas taxes by up to 5 percent annually and a big jump in auto insurance.

"The governor's budget will raise the cost of gasoline and car insurance -- that's a fact. It takes more money from the family budget and hurts families coping with higher gas prices

. Maybe he's not worrying about gas prices in Manhattan or in his state-supplied car, but the people I represent are plenty concerned about rising gas prices. In our area, we depend on our cars and trucks to get to work, school, the store and church. Along with his 300 percent proposed hike in car insurance fees and higher thruway tolls, the governor is hurting upstate motorists," Seward said.

The governor's budget proposes eliminating the cap on gasoline sales taxes enacted two years ago that kicks in at $2 per gallon -- a cap of 8 cents in taxes -- and substitute the hard cap for an adjustable sales tax on gasoline tied to the Oil Producer Price Index. Senate Finance analysts say the move will raise gas taxes by up to 5 percent each year.

In addition, the governor has proposed raising the motor vehicle insurance fee on every insurance policy from $5 to $20 this year -- a 300 percent jump.

"The governor's idea that we use insurance policies as revenue raisers hits the family budget and pressures the cost of driving to work, school, shopping or church. Upstate motorists need their vehicles, and with gas costs rising, a huge jump in the insurance fee -- per car -- is the wrong thing to do, and one more reason for people to leave New York.

"The governor has raised thruway tolls already and wants $1.7 billion in new taxes and fees in his budget," Seward said. "The craziness has to stop. We keep losing people because the state piles on fee on top of tax on top of surcharge -- and people are sick of it. Some people don't know how they're going to pay their home heating bills -- and the governor wants to raid wallets even more.

"I'll fight the governor's plan to increase the price of gasoline and to raise car insurance rates," Seward concluded.

Seward has started an on-line petition for those who want to register their opposition to the gas price hike. It can be found at under "Join the Fight."