Assemblyman Brian M. Kolb (R,C-Canandaigua) today called for suspension of New York state’s 4 percent sales tax on gasoline and diesel fuel through the end of the year. The measure also would allow 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.
Kolb stated, "The high price of fuel is hindering our residents’ ability to continue with the necessities of their day-to-day living. Suspending the 4 percent state sales tax on gasoline is not the final solution, but it’s a good start."
Since Kolb and his Assembly minority colleagues 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 $2.66.
Kolb noted residents of Central New York and the Finger Lakes region are hit especially hard by rising fuel prices because many have to rely solely on their vehicles to commute to work and take care of family needs. In rural communities, Kolb explained, businesses and homes are spread over a greater distance, forcing residents to travel more miles to perform routine tasks. High fuel prices are taking a tremendous toll on the upstate economy, and farmers and small-business owners are struggling to keep their businesses running as they’re forced to pay higher prices for gasoline and diesel fuel.
"For residents of upstate New York, buying gas is simply a necessity," said Kolb. "Driving to work, driving your kids to the doctor, driving to the grocery store, heating your home – these are all things that have to be done. Since the price at the fuel pump has reached $2.66 per gallon and will likely go higher, people don’t have the option to just take it or leave it."
Under the Assembly minority proposal, motorists would save an estimated $216.4 million in fuel taxes if the 4 percent levy is suspended from Monday, Sept. 5 through Saturday, Dec. 31.
Kolb stated, "This legislation is a way to place some money directly back in the pockets of consumers. It is the least we can do and a good first step. However, we need to continue to look for opportunities to conserve and explore alternative ideas for our energy supplies."