Assemblyman Andrew Raia (R,C,I,WF- East Northport) and his Assembly minority colleagues joined today at a press conference to outline a proposal to ease the burden of skyrocketing gas prices through the implementation of a gas tax cap and alternative fuels.
“I have been fighting for years to cap the gas tax. Most recently through my strong support of an amendment that proposed to cap the gas tax on any amount over $2.00. Long Island commuters are paying nearly $3 per gallon for regular unleaded and although we experienced a minor setback, I remain committed to fight for the relief that my constituents deserve,” said Raia.
New Yorkers pay $.65 per gallon on average ($.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. “By capping the gas tax for the summer we can limit the negative effect that increased fuel costs have on the Long Island economy.”
As a long term solution, the Assembly minority conference proposed accelerating the state's transition away from a fossil fuel transportation economy to one that is ever more reliant on alternative and renewable energy sources, a move that will lower fuel costs by lessening the demand for gasoline. We are proposing to place the state sales tax revenue generated from the second dollar of gas ($1.00 to $2.00) into the Alternative Fuel Incentive Fund. It is estimated that the proposal would generate $265 million annually to provide tax credits, grants, investments and other incentives to encourage ownership of hybrid and flex-fuel vehicles and the building of alternative fueling stations and refineries. Currently all sales tax revenue goes into the General Fund.
“This is an issue that will not be solved overnight and we must be diligent in providing solutions that can offset the many negative effects that the increases in gas prices cause to our local economy. Our plan includes both short term and long term proposals and I look forward to bringing this plan to the Assembly floor,” concluded Raia.