Op-Ed: How we are combating inflation in New York

Senator Sean M. Ryan

July 27, 2022

Originally published in Ken-Ton Bee on July 27, 2022.

Summer is here! Thanks to the emergence of treatments to deal with COVID and the approval of vaccines for most everyone, our parades, festivals and other large gatherings are finally back in full force. Here in Western New York and across the country, we are enjoying our first “normal” summer since before the pandemic. However, inflation is putting a damper on the celebrations. We are seeing higher prices at the grocery store, in the housing market, at the gas pump – and many Western New Yorkers are finding themselves struggling to afford the things we need.

There are many factors that have led to rising costs, but much of it boils down to simple supply and demand. During the early days of the pandemic, factories were shut down and shipping was stalled, and the result was a shortage of goods. The days of people hoarding paper towels are beginning to feel like a distant memory, but global supply chains are still recovering from the disruption caused by COVID. In recent months, the war in Ukraine has only exacerbated supply shortages. But as we continue to deal with supply issues, our emergence from the worst of the pandemic has led to a boom in spending and higher demand for consumer goods.

The good news is there are indications that things are moving in the right direction and that our actions in Albany are making a difference. We suspended the state gas tax – a move that will save New York drivers over $585 million at the pump this year – and we are seeing gas prices begin to drop. It is an encouraging sign, but we still have a long way to go before we stop feeling the impact of inflation. In the meantime, the State Legislature has adopted a wide variety of measures to save New Yorkers money as we continue to deal with inflated costs.

We put an emphasis on providing relief to families feeling the pinch of inflation, and that started with accelerating middle-class tax cuts that will save families more than $770 million in the next two years. We also set aside $250 million of federal funding to help low-income families pay for utilities to make sure their lights stay on while they get back on their feet. We also delivered $7 billion to expand and help families pay for childcare over the next four years. Many homeowners have been hit hard, and we included a large investment in the state budget to help families in need avoid foreclosure. We also took steps to reduce the burden of property taxes for most of our state’s homeowners. In the last month, millions of New Yorkers have already received their homeowner tax rebates – and checks are still being distributed.

Even the experts do not know when we will see an end to this record inflation, but as the country awaits a return to pre-pandemic prices, I am focused on doing everything possible to make a real difference.