Many of us can remember paying less than $1 for a gallon of gasoline – it really wasn’t that long ago. Inflation, a necessary evil, not only affects the price of commodities we buy daily but also affects our salaries. In a perfect world, inflation applied to purchases would rise at the same rate as inflation of our salaries and, for the most part, it does.
Gasoline, however, is its own animal – prices going wildly out of control, digging deep into the pockets of every New Yorker. Gas prices in some areas of the state have breached $3 per gallon. There’s little consumers can do to control the price of gas and diesel fuel. As a legislator, though, I am joining my Assembly minority colleagues in calling for a temporary repeal of the state gas tax.
The state’s 4 percent sales tax on gasoline and diesel fuel would, according to my plan, be suspended through the end of the year. The measure also would give local governments the option of suspending their portion of the sales tax – all in an attempt to ease some of the heavy burden rising fuel costs are placing on New Yorkers and visitors.
Since the minority conference first called for suspension of the state sales tax in 2000, the average price for gasoline has risen by more than $1 per gallon. In the last year alone, the cost has gone up 32 percent. The average price for a gallon of gas in New York is now topping $3 a gallon. Economic and energy supply analysts predict that regular unleaded gas will continue to go up because of the catastrophic damage to oil drilling and refinery operations caused by Hurricane Katrina.
For five long years we have been urging members of the Assembly majority to hear our pleas on behalf of our constituents – to no avail – and now it is more imperative than ever. Rest assured I will continue fighting for repeal of the gas tax.