New York State Senators Fred Akshar (R,C - Southern Tier) and Peter Oberacker (R,C - Schenevus) announced today they are partnering on legislation (S.8483) to provide New York families immediate relief at the gas pump.
The New York Gas Tax Relief Act suspends the state gas tax until September 1, 2022 in an effort to combat the increased costs that have burdened New Yorkers over the past two years and have escalated even higher in recent weeks.
“Families and small businesses are struggling like never before with unprecedented cost increases in nearly every facet of their lives, especially at the gas pump,” said Senator Fred Akshar. “While our leaders in Albany and Washington seem more interested in pleasing their political interests than easing the burdens on everyday New Yorkers, this legislation puts our people’s economic survival first.”
“Driving to work, the grocery store, the doctor, or to pick up the kids from any number of locations is a reality of life where we live,” said Senator Oberacker. “Higher gasoline costs are a constant budget burden and the price at the pump is on the rise again due to a number of factors. Fortunately, Albany has the ability to offer immediate relief by suspending the state gas tax.”
In the past year alone, average gas prices in the state have gone up by more than a dollar-per-gallon, or an estimated 43 percent increase and experts are predicting additional increases in the short term.
“Rising prices at the pump hurt our small businesses and lead to across the board cost increases for consumers. Inflation is at a 40-year high and action is needed to help businesses and consumers alike as we work to recover from the COVID pandemic. Suspending the gas tax is one tangible step that will benefit to everyone across the state,” added Senator Oberacker.
Included in the New York Gas Tax Relief Act is a measure that would ensure gas tax collections are directed to the state’s Dedicated Highway and Bridge Trust Fund, where they belong.
A recent report from New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli highlighted the fact that just 17 cents of each dollar in the state’s Dedicated Highway Bridge and Trust Fund goes toward capital projects.
“What’s even worse than the collection of the gas tax is the fact that people are being duped when it comes to how the money is being used – and this is not a new problem. Our state comptroller has issued similar reports in 2009 and 2014 identifying this abuse, yet this highway robbery still goes on every time we fill up at the pump. Albany politicians who have allowed this deception to continue need to own up to the public,” said Senator Oberacker.
Finally, Senators Akshar and Oberacker reaffirmed their opposition to a proposed 55-cent per gallon gas tax increase.
“The proposed 55-cent gas tax hike is a perfect example of how out-of-touch and tone deaf Albany’s leadership is on the everyday struggles our families and businesses face in New York, even as hundreds of thousands of families leave for a more affordable life outside out state every single year,” said Senator Akshar. “My colleague Senator Oberacker and I will continue fighting these misguided and frankly nonsensical policies on behalf of the people who remain in New York, struggling to make ends meet.”
“Legislation has been introduced that would raise taxes on gas and home heating fuel and it is a non-starter in my book. New York already has the highest energy taxes in the nation and measures adding to consumer pain make no sense. I will continue to oppose any new taxes especially those that will hurt people here in our part of the state where public transportation options are sparse,” concluded Senator Oberacker.