Dennis Gabryszak (D-Cheektowaga) joined truckers from around the state at the Capitol today to rally against rising fuel costs.
“The Bush administration has failed these truckers and all of our families,” Gabryszak said. “Without a viable federal energy policy, prices have risen 75% in the last year and Big Oil is raking in record profits. To add insult to injury, earlier this year the Thruway Authority increased tolls –a hike I fought against. That is why I am here today, and why yesterday I voted for legislation that will help ensure New Yorkers are not taken advantage of by wealthy oil companies.”
Yesterday, the Assembly passed legislation instituting a recapture and windfall-profit tax provision on “Big Oil” companies with a prohibition on passing the tax on to consumers (A.11590). The revenues would go to a fund that supports energy-savings measures for consumers as well as helping pay home heating bills this winter through the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP). The legislation:
- requires gasoline importers to pay a surcharge equal to 4 percent of the difference between the price of a gallon of gasoline and $2 per gallon; and
- prohibits the pass-through of this surcharge to consumers and provides for a civil penalty of up to $35,000 per day for any violation of this prohibition.
Based on the forecasted price for gasoline by the Energy Information Association, the recapture provision on “Big Oil” would be expected to generate $406 million. The windfall-profit tax would:
- impose a 2 percent gross-receipts tax on very large oil companies that sell their products in New York State, similar to the windfall-profit tax imposed on oil companies in the 1980s; and
- prohibit big oil companies from passing along the additional costs to customers through increases in the price of gasoline.
“When the Assembly passed a law capping the state sales tax on gas, consumers never saw the savings –instead, ‘Big Oil’ posted record profits, draining the pockets of hardworking New Yorkers,” Gabryszak said. “This legislation will recapture those profits and ensure that families across New York see the benefits.”
The energy package passed yesterday also included bills that will:
- ensure gasoline pumps dispense the accurate amount of fuel that a consumer is charged for by retailers, ending the phenomenon known as “pump jump” (A.11588);
- establish a Web site to inform consumers of current retail prices for all grades of gasoline and diesel fuel sold at retail outlets throughout New York State (A.11588); and
- allow gasoline retailers and distributors to purchase and sell unbranded motor fuel, giving consumers the option to purchase less expensive fuel (A.9073-B).
“While we continue to push for the federal government to take action, I am also working to address the issue of high energy prices at the state level,” Gabryszak said. “We cannot afford to wait until this issue becomes worse – we must get a plan in place immediately.”