Fitzpatrick, Minority Conference Call for Gas Tax Cap, Alternative Fuel Research and Use

May 2, 2006

Assemblyman Michael J. Fitzpatrick (R,C,I-Smithtown) and his Assembly minority colleagues today proposed a two-part plan to cap New York’s gas taxes on amounts exceeding $2 per gallon and develop an Alternative Fuel Incentive Fund to promote research, development and usage of alternative energy fuels.

The state Senate passed the tax cap measure two weeks ago, but the amendment was defeated in the Assembly, 77-64, on April 11, with 77 majority members voting to retain the tax. The minority conference said they will force another vote for the cap, which would save motorists about 10 cents per gallon based on current gas prices of more than $3 a gallon.

“New York motorists are subjected to the highest gas tax rates in the Northeast, paying 65 cents per gallon in taxes,” said Fitzpatrick. “New York is also one of the few states to subject gasoline to sales taxes based on the price of gas. This is creating higher prices at the pumps for motorists and windfall profits for New York’s coffers.”

The plan unveiled today by the Assembly minority is designed to help New York motorists in two ways.

First, the plan would place a cap on state gas taxes on amounts exceeding $2 per gallon to provide short-term relief. The second part of the plan is to develop the Alternative Fuel Incentive Fund dedicated to research, development and the usage of alternative and renewable energy fuels.

“Short-term relief at the gas pumps is essential for Long Island working families who commute long distances to work,” said Fitzpatrick. “However, we must also use the current gas crisis as an opportunity to plan for the future of New York.”

Fitzpatrick is focusing on the future and the country’s oil dependency. The fund would allocate:

* $90 million for personal income and corporate franchise tax credits equal to $500 per hybrid or fuel-flexible vehicle

* $90 million in credits for installation of or conversion to fueling stations for alternative fuels

* $30 million for academic institutions and public/private consortiums dedicated to research and development regarding fuel diversification and energy efficiency in the transportation sector

* $20 million for construction of a cellulosic ethanol refinery

* $3 million to eliminate state and local sales taxes and a motor fuel excise tax on alternative fuels.

Fitzpatrick also supports opening the five existing E-85 fueling stations in the state to the public. “There are over 50 models of vehicles, representing more than 5 million automobiles on the road today, that are considered ‘flex-fuel,’ meaning they can run on E-85, a fuel that is 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline,” he noted.