New York Needs To Take A Gas Tax Holiday

ALBANY, 05/24/11 – State Senator James L. Seward (R/C/I-Oneonta) today announced senate approval of legislation eliminating the state gas tax for three key holiday weekends to help families cope with the rising cost at the pump.

“New Yorkers are facing increasing costs at every turn and soaring gas prices have many tapped out,” said Senator Seward.  “Families need a break, especially over the summer holidays when many are traveling.  A gas tax holiday would provide some much needed relief.”

The bill (S.4880-B) would suspend New York State taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel for the four day holiday weekends (Friday through Monday) of Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day.  The legislation also provides local governments with the option of suspending their sales tax for those same periods.

Motorists could save 33 cents per gallon in state gasoline taxes, including 17 cents from the petroleum business tax (PBT), 8 cents from the motor fuel excise tax (MFT) and 8 cents from state sales tax.  If a locality with a four percent tax rate opts into the exemption there will be an additional 15 cents per gallon savings totaling 48 cents per gallon.

“Gas prices at or above $4 a gallon could be the final nail in the coffin for the summer holiday travel plans of many. Not only does that mean the end of the family vacation but it also puts the pinch on the tourism industry, an anchor of our local economy,” added Seward.

The average family with two cars will save nearly $100 for all three holidays if localities opt into the exemptions. 
“This is by no means a long term solution.  We need to end our dependence on foreign oil, and increase our use of renewable energy sources.  In the meantime, though, suspending the gas tax on select high travel weekends will bring some much needed relief to families struggling to make ends meet, and help protect many small businesses that depend on vacationers,” Seward concluded.

The bill has been sent to the assembly.