Senator Helming Calls for Suspension of State's Gas Tax

Senator Helming joined Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt and Senator Ed Rath to call for the suspension of the state's current gas tax to provide some immediate relief to every individual and business paying higher prices right now at the pump. 

In April this year, Senator Helming led opposition to legislation introduced by some Senate Democrats (S.4264) that according to the Business Council, could increase the cost of gas by as much as 55 cents per gallon and increase home heating costs by more than 25 percent. Senator Helming launched a petition against the bill on her website.

The Democrat-proposed legislation would impose a carbon tax of $55 per ton of fossil fuel emissions in order to reach renewable energy mandates under the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act passed by the Legislature in 2019.

“Suspending the state’s gas tax would provide some immediate relief to people who right now, are paying more to get to work, to bring their kids to school or daycare, to heat their homes, and to power their businesses. We can take action today to help. And we can work together on long-term solutions to protect the environment that don’t raise significant costs for taxpayers and job creators,” said Senator Pam Helming.

“As prices at the pump and on our home heating bills rise, it’s critical that elected officials find ways to alleviate what will surely be a dark cold winter for lower-and-middle-class New Yorkers. That is why my Republican colleagues and I are calling for an immediate suspension to the state’s gas tax today. I am disappointed that my Democrat colleagues continue to foolishly push an increased, out-of-touch gas tax that will only harm those struggling to fill their tanks and pay their heating bills. With the state now projecting more than a $7 billion dollar budget surplus, we can clearly provide this much-needed tax relief, while also ensuring full funding for our critical highway, road and bridge infrastructure improvement projects,” said Leader Ortt.

“Despite its catchy title, The Climate and Community Investment Act (CCIA) would have devastating impacts on the communities that I represent. At a time when fuel and heating costs are rising, adding another 55 cents per gallon to the cost of gasoline and a 25% tax on natural gas and home heating oil is unconscionable. The CCIA has little to do with protecting the environment and everything to do with funding a radical and out of touch agenda.  If we are serious about protecting the environment we should be working with stakeholders, finding practical solutions and incentivizing innovation, not raising already high taxes on hardworking upstate families,” said Senator Ed Rath.

New York currently has the ninth-highest gas tax in the nation at 46.19 cents per gallon, according to the Tax Foundation. If the proposed gas tax of 55 cents were added, New York would vault to the highest overall gas tax (101.19 cents) in the nation.

According to AAA, New York’s latest average gas price is $3.46 per gallon, compared to a one year ago $2.25 per gallon average. Earlier this month, state officials warned that home heating bills are “forecast to increase by 21 percent compared to last winter.”

In the Greater Rochester region, the average gas price is essentially the same as the statewide average. In addition, Rochester Gas & Electric is forecasting about a 33 percent increase in home heating costs for more than 319,000 of its natural gas customers.

Watch Senator Helming's comments here.