Raia Supports Suspension of State Gas Tax for Summer

Concerned that increased prices will adversely affect summer tourism, commerce and residents
May 24, 2004

As the state’s gasoline prices rocket beyond $2 a gallon, driving to work has hit the wallets of Long Islanders hard. In response for the need for lower prices, Assemblyman Andrew P. Raia (R,C-East Northport) joined his Assembly Minority colleagues to demand a temporary suspension to the state’s sales tax on motor fuel during the summer travel season.

The suspension of the 4.25 percent sales tax would begin on May 28 and end on Sept. 6, the traditional vacation period from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

"Our region is dependent on its billion-dollar tourism industry," Raia said. "A suspension of this tax will keep the industry strong throughout the summer months and save fuel consumers approximately $143 million in fuel taxes during the suspension."

Raia added that the proposal would also help the trucking industry, which has also been hit hard with rising diesel prices. The goods purchased in stores are brought by trucks, Raia said, and higher fuel prices mean higher prices at the check-out line.

Under the proposal, local governments would be given the option of opting out of their collection of sales tax on gas and diesel fuel. The suspension of state and local sales taxes on fuel would save drivers anywhere from 8 to 16 cents per gallon.

"Typically, fuel prices rise during the summer months," Raia said. "We need to control this rising expense in order to keep tourism strong and ease the burden that has been imposed on Long Island families."