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New York State Legislators Consider Suspending Gas Tax

By:
Ruth Singleton
Published Date:
Mar 15, 2022

GettyImages-1331083223-gas-station-pump

Members of the New York State Legislature are in negotiations to temporarily suspend the state’s gas tax, the Albany Times-Union reported. Republicans originally pushed for the suspension, and it is now garnering support among Democrats.

The average gas price across New York state today is $4.45 per gallon, according to to the AAA. The high cost stems from several factors, including inflation and the Biden administration’s ban on imports of Russian oil and gas, in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

New York state imposes taxes on gas suppliers, and those costs are included in the price at the pump. But there are additional federal and local taxes and fees that add to the fuel costs. On Monday, Gov. Kathy Hochul pointed out that gas taxes are "capped," and she said that her administration is "having conversations" about a gas tax suspension, although she hasn’t yet made a decision about it. When asked about it, she has said that it is complicated and that she would want to ensure that the consumer benefits from it.  The Senate Democrats’ proposal, which would be a part of the state budget, would lead to a reduction of roughly 16 cents per gallon of gas. The suspension would run from May through the calendar year and would represent partial tax relief, rather than full relief, which would be more than 25 cents per gallon. 

Senate Democrats estimate that their proposal would offer $648 million in savings for drivers at the gas pump. It would specify that if a gas station does not pass along  the relief by lowering gas prices as a result of taxes or fees being suspended, the station could be subject to a charge of price gouging by the state attorney general’s office.  

Republicans have been advocating for a gas tax suspension for months, in response to recent high inflation, particularly upstate, where public transportation is less available to commuters. But high gas prices also are also impairing other areas of the economy, including businesses, trucking and farming.

On March 4, Republican Sens. Fred Akshar and Peter Oberaker introduced Senate Bill 8483, which would suspend the gas tax from April through September, reducing the cost of gas by 33 cents per gallon, according to WROC.

Although a gas tax suspension was not included in the Assembly budget, Democratic Assembly Speaker Carl E. Heastie said, "I'm open to that discussion. This thing is so uncertain in terms of the war in Ukraine, but I'm open to it."  

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