Senator Saland Sponsors Legislation Which Passes The Senate To Address Recent Energy Concerns

Stephen M. Saland

January 31, 2006

Senator Steve Saland (R,C Poughkeepsie) today announced that he has sponsored legislation which passed the Senate today to address recent energy concerns.

The "Senior Heat" program (S.5965) would provide $200 rebate checks to eligible senior citizen homeowners to help offset the cost of home heating. Seniors approved for the enhanced STAR school property tax rebate program, at least 65 years old and with an annual income of less than $64,650, would be eligible for the Senior Heat program. The plan would also provide a $100 refundable State tax credit to eligible senior citizens who rent and pay for their heat. The program would provide an estimated $140 million in assistance to more than 640,000 senior homeowners and renters.

"I am pleased that we have passed legislation today which would help seniors struggling to meet the rising cost of heat," said Senator Saland. "We do not want seniors to be forced to trade other necessities such as medication in order to heat their homes."

A second bill (S.5968) sponsored by Senator Saland would cap State and local sales taxes at $2 per gallon. This legislation would save approximately $240 million annually, if all localities participated. The cap covers the local sales tax on gas unless a local government votes to opt out of the cap. Senator Saland will also be introducing legislation to increase the penalties for price gouging to better prevent those who sell fuel from taking advantage in the event of a future energy crisis.

A third bill (S.5763B), sponsored by Senator Saland would extend through the end of 2006, the recently expired alternative fueled vehicle tax credit. The credit would apply to alternative fuels such as methanol, ethanol and fully electric vehicles. The bill also reestablishes a State sales tax exemption for the purchase of refueling property equipment. The bill is estimated to provide $3 million a year in credits through SFY 2007-08.