For weeks now, my Assembly minority colleagues and I have been fighting to lower the price of gasoline in New York state by placing a cap on the state gasoline sales tax. Today, the New York State Assembly overwhelming passed a bill to do exactly that. New Yorkers can expect to save up to ten cents per gallon of gasoline at the pump once the bill is enacted.
This is a good first step for New Yorkers and the people of the Southern Tier, who have been feeling the squeeze produced by soaring fuel and energy costs. This also marks an important victory for the Assembly minority conference as we first introduced an amendment on April 11th to cap the gas tax at $2.00 per gallon but it was defeated 77-64, with 77 majority members voting the measure down.
Our conference has been at the forefront of delivering tax relief to New Yorkers statewide and this example is no exception, which is why we understand that more needs to be done. The tax cap serves as a good short-term solution but we must be proactive in transitioning the state away from fossil fuels to alternative energy sources.
The next step is the implementation of the Alternative Fuel Incentive Fund to accelerate the use of alternative energy and fuels such as ethanol and bio-diesel. I believe that by accelerating the transition to alternative fuels, we would lower fuel costs through lessened demand for gasoline, provide for a cleaner environment, more agricultural and manufacturing, and greater national security through greater energy independence.
For us in the Southern Tier, we rely solely on our cars to get us to work, to school, to our children’s activities, and to the places where we recreate. The importance of lower energy costs through alternative fuels can be seen right here, in the 149th Assembly District.
I am pleased with today’s progress, but I am also not complacent. In order for this state and our communities to be economically unburdened by soaring energy costs, we must implement the Alternative Fuel Incentive fund, so that tomorrow may bring us a stronger agricultural economy and a cleaner, more vibrant Southern Tier.