Republican and Democratic state lawmakers agree legislation is needed to address the skyrocketing cost of gasoline in New York and have taken aim at the state's per-gallon tax.
But they disagree on how to do it.
On Wednesday, lawmakers unveiled still more proposals on how to address the cost of gas amid supply chain problems brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Republican state Sen. Peter Oberacker proposed a bill with Sen. Fred Akshar that would suspend the gas tax through Sept. 1. Future funds from the tax would be sent to aid infrastructure improvements.
“Families and businesses are experiencing real pain at the pump that’s pinching their already over-stressed budgets. We can provide some relief now by suspending the state’s sales tax on a gallon of gasoline from now until September,” said Sen. Jim Tedisco.
Democratic lawmakers, meanwhile, proposed an alternative solution: Cap the sales tax on gasoline at 25 cents per gallon, based on the average price paid of $3.09 in 2021. The proposal was made by Sen. John Mannion and Assemblywoman Pamela Hunter.
“People all over the country have watched as the price of gas at their local station has jumped by 50 cents or more within just the last week," Hunter said. "Families already struggling with inflation for basic goods at the grocery store have been especially hit hard. A cap on the amount of tax collected per gallon would provide immediate relief and help those who rely on their vehicles to earn a living."
Mannion said the bill is meant to provide relief, but also still ensure some revenue is collected.
“This legislation strikes the right balance – it’s a decisive action with immediate cost-savings for New Yorkers while preserving the state’s need to collect taxes and meet its revenue projections," he said. "My bill caps the gas tax at 25 cents per gallon - essentially freezing state and county taxes on any gas priced above $3.09. Importantly, there would be no hardships or bureaucratic burdens placed on station owners or wholesalers.”