Yesterday, Assemblyman Andrew Raia (R,C,I,WF- East Northport) and his Assembly minority colleagues voted in favor of an amendment to provide a sales tax exemption on motor and diesel fuel on gasoline costing over $2.00 per gallon between Memorial day and Labor day. The amendment failed 77-63 with 77 majority members voting to retain the tax. The cap would have saved motorists $.08-$.10 per gallon. The bill had previously passed in the Senate.
“This proposal is a moderate measure to provide relief to Long Island commuters who are paying nearly $3 per gallon for regular unleaded,” said Raia.
New Yorkers pay $.63 per gallon on average ($.184 federal tax included), the highest rate in the Northeast. Included in the price of a gallon of gasoline are excise taxes, Petroleum Business Taxes, a petroleum testing fee, a spill tax, a federal tax and state and local sales taxes.
“Increasing gas prices will have an adverse affect on the Long Island economy which depends on tourism, especially in the upcoming summer months,” added Raia.
In 2004, Raia and his Assembly minority colleagues collected over 6,000 petitions from Long Island residents to call for the suspension of the New York state gas tax. The petition drive was organized by the radio station WBAB in an effort to pump up the local economy by eliminating the tax.
“This is an issue that I have fought for in the past as a co-sponsor of legislation to suspend the gas tax and today with prices approaching $3 a gallon for regular unleaded, I remain committed to provide relief at the pumps for Long Island residents,” said Raia.
New York residents pay the highest gas prices in the Northeast and one of the highest in the nation. Raia said there was much work ahead to lessen gas and energy costs and that his conference would be introducing legislation in the coming weeks designed to reduce gas and energy taxes and costs as well as provide incentives and tax credits for the development and use of alternative and renewable fuels, vehicles and generators.
“I will continue to fight to relieve the burden the gas tax places on Long Island residents which will include a comprehensive plan to be introduced in coming weeks,” concluded Raia.