Albany – The New York State Senate today passed a comprehensive energy plan that would provide motorists with immediate relief from high gasoline prices, ease the impact of skyrocketing home heating costs on senior citizens this winter and address the state’s long term energy needs by encouraging the use of alternative energy and conservation.
The centerpiece of the Senate energy plan is a cap on the State and local sales taxes on gasoline that would save consumers about $90 million through the rest of this year, and $400 million annually if gas prices remain near $3 per gallon and all localities participate.
“The high cost of energy is having a major impact on our economy, hurting the bottom lines of small businesses, pinching the pocketbooks of families and threatening the ability of seniors to keep warm this winter,” said Senator Michael F. Nozzolio (R-Fayette). “The Senate plan addresses the immediate need to lower gas prices, the looming crisis of high heating fuel costs and would put long term measures in place to encourage the use of alternative sources of energy and to encourage conservation.”
The Senate is also reviewing an energy plan submitted by Governor Pataki.
“As a result of recent natural disasters, crude oil shortages, and increased oil consumption throughout the world, energy prices have skyrocketed,” Senator Nozzolio added. “In response, the Senate has put forth bold new ideas to counteract high prices and looming problems. The enactment of the sales tax cap on gasoline, the creation of the “Senior Heat” program, and a continued focus on new energy technologies will provide relief to consumers in the short and long term.”
In addition to the cap on gas taxes and the senior heating assistance program, the Senate energy plan includes bills that would:
· Provide a tax credit for the production of bio-fuel products;
· Extends tax credits for the purchase of alternative fuel vehicles;
· Extends property tax exemptions for alternative energy facilities; and
· Provide a sales tax exemption on Energy Star products, home insulation and newly installed alternative energy systems.
The Senate also acted on a resolution, asking the federal government to increase funding for the low income Home Energy Assistance Program, based on anticipated higher costs for home heating fuel this winter.
“Seniors living on fixed incomes should not be faced with decisions between staying warm or meeting life’s other necessities,” Senator Nozzolio concluded.