Senate And Assembly Republicans Hold Listening Session With Stakeholders On Proposed Gas Tax

Senator Mario R. Mattera (2nd Senate District) joined with members of the Senate and Assembly Republican Conferences today for a listening session with stakeholders across various industries to discuss the potential impacts of the Climate and Community Investment Act (CCIA).  The proposal, which is being advanced by some Albany Democrats, could increase the cost of gas by as much as fifty-five cents per gallon and increase home heating costs by more than twenty-five percent.  This is the third in a series of listening sessions hosted by Senate and Assembly Republicans.  Earlier sessions were hosted in Albany and Buffalo. 

“Just as Long Islanders are starting to emerge from the ongoing crisis and rebuild, our state should be finding ways to help them recover.  Instead, this proposal would impact every facet of their lives and make it harder for them to provide for their families.  Today’s roundtable was an opportunity to hear directly from those who will be most impacted and it is clear that we must say to Albany that our residents will no longer be their ATM,” said Senator Mario Mattera.

The proposed legislation, S.4264, would impose a carbon tax of $55 per ton of fossil fuel emissions in order to reach renewable energy mandates under the CCIA, passed by the Legislature in 2019.

The session was led by Senator Phil Boyle, Assemblyman Ed Ra, and Assemblyman Robert Smullen, ranking member of the Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee, and members of their respective conferences.  Discussions revolved around the potential impacts on small businesses, farms, and various sectors of the energy industry.  The session provided an opportunity for lawmakers to listen to testimony directly from stakeholders from across those industries.

“In the midst of a Pandemic that has ravaged our society in more ways than one, a 55-cent per gallon tax on gasoline would add to the immense financial burden that so many families across New York are experiencing.  This is the last thing Long Island needs coming out of the economic downturn from the Pandemic: Another Tax!,” said Senator Boyle. 

“We can all agree that our state should be taking measures to protect and preserve our environment.  However, we have to weigh the costs associated with any proposed legislation.  While the Climate and Community Investment Act is well-intentioned, it would cause gas prices to increase as much as 55 cents per gallon.  At a time when many New Yorkers continue to struggle to get back on their feet, the last thing we should be doing is creating additional burdens on our residents.  I would happily support common-sense measures that properly address our climate change crisis but, sadly, this bill isn’t it,” said Assemblyman Ra.

“As Ranking Member for the Committee on Environmental Conservation, I’m always eager to see what ways we as a state can continue to improve and protect our state’s natural beauty.  The CCIA, unfortunately, is not the realistic solution.  Its proposals reflect a reality we don’t live in, and seek to do serious damage across our state’s economy, an economy already having trouble competing across the nation, and indeed the world.  This proposal needs to hit the drawing board again, with a more reasonable scale and timeframe in mind, before we can consider supporting such an initiative,” said Assemblyman Smullen.

According to the Tax Foundation, New York currently has the 7th highest gas tax in the country, at 43.12 cents per gallon with California currently the highest at 62.47 cents per gallon.  This legislation would raise New York’s tax to 98.12 cents per gallon, an increase of more than 127 percent, and would make New York’s gas tax more than 57 percent higher than any other state.  New York State has repeatedly been named one of the worst business tax climates in the nation by the Tax Foundation.

​“While the Climate and Community Investment Act (CCIA) aims to help our communities, and I welcome the chance we as elected officials have to hear proposals in answer to the climate crisis, I am highly concerned at the possibility of increasing the cost of gas by nearly 55 cents.  Now is not the time to be placing additional burdens on our communities when we are still recovering from the pandemic.  While it is important to take care of our environment, by cleaning up our water supply, protecting our wildlife or going green, we must keep in mind how some proposals could negatively impact our communities,” said Assemblyman Michael Montesano.

“Safeguarding the environment, conserving our natural resources, and protecting our region’s water supply will always be top priorities for me as State Senator.  I supported the passage of the Water Infrastructure Improvement Act and have continued to work with local stakeholders to advance common-sense environmental policies for our region.   Unfortunately, in recent years, we have seen massive tax hike proposals advanced in Albany cloaked as pro-environmental policy.  This is a misguided and counterproductive approach to improving the environment and will only compound New York’s affordability crisis for families and businesses. I will continue to fight to ensure that tax dollars raised here on Long Island are used to address environmental issues in our region and not siphoned into New York City's coffers,” said Senator Anthony Palumbo. 

“The CCIA, which could lead to a 55-cent increase in the cost per gallon of gas and increase residential natural gas prices by 26 percent, would make New York’s gas and fuel costs by far the highest in the nation.  Drastically increasing our necessary gas and fuel oil costs will do nothing to protect the environment, but will instead create a new tax that dips into our pockets.  The necessary steps we all must undertake to reduce our carbon footprint must be a plan balanced with common sense and feasibility,” said Senator Alexis Weik.