Joined by a local officer of AAA, State Senator James L. Seward today called for a cap on state gas taxes to immediately roll back gas prices in our area and to stop state government from reaping a tax windfall at the expense of working families. He also kicked off a website petition effort to put pressure on state leaders.
Senator Seward said his plan would cap the state’s sales tax on the first $2 of the per gallon price. The sales tax is pegged to the price of gas and rises along with gasoline’s per gallon price. That would mean an immediate savings of 8-10 cents per gallon for gas priced at $3, or $320 million a year for motorists statewide. Seward said U.S. drivers are now paying about 30 percent more to fill their tanks than a year ago.
"The overburdened, hardworking taxpayer has to dig deeper to pay for gasoline and fuel oil, and that money comes from the family food or clothing budget," said Senator Seward. "It's simply wrong that state government is taking advantage of soaring prices to profit and pile up more money in the state coffers. My plan is the quickest and easiest way to provide real relief to motorists who are feeling the sting of high prices now, and it would help as we kick off the tourist season because local businesses and tourist destinations rely on the travelling public for their incomes, and college students need to get to their summer jobs.
"We need the assembly Democrats to get on the stick shift and pass this now," Seward added.
Gas prices across New York State are already breaking the $3 a gallon barrier, and experts predict that summer prices could outpace last year's local record of $3.33 a gallon, reached last September, by mid-summer. The statewide average is just below $3.09 and the national average is around $2.92.
The senate has passed Senator Seward's gas tax cap plan (S.5968) three times, most recently as part of the senate’s budget in March, but Seward said assembly Democrats won’t consider it.
"People in our area have no choice but to use their vehicles to get to work or school and do their shopping or errands. The state's gas tax windfall belongs to motorists, and it should be returned to them now to help relieve the bite of record high gas prices," Senator Seward said.
"We’re going to keep up this fight until the assembly agrees to help relieve the burden of gas taxes on New York’s families," he added.
Seward urged motorists to show their support for his gas tax cap plan by visiting his website -- www.senatorjimseward.com -- and clicking the link to "Roll Back the Gas Tax." People can also visit his website to compare gasoline prices.