Fitzpatrick Applauds Gas Tax Legislation

Urges support for more long-term relief measures
May 16, 2006

Assemblyman Michael J. Fitzpatrick (R,C,I-Smithtown) today supported short-term cost relief for beleaguered motorists by voting for a state sales tax cap on gasoline at $2 per gallon. At the same time, he maintains more must be done to achieve alternative fuel research, development and usage.

“The agreement contains only short-term relief for motorists,” remarked Fitzpatrick. “New York needs legislation that addresses short- and long-term solutions to the energy crisis. We need legislation that creates incentives for research, development and usage of alternative fuels.”

Assemblyman Fitzpatrick and his minority colleagues over the past month pushed for the sales tax cap as well as creation of an Alternative Fuel Incentive Fund. A minority-sponsored amendment calling for the same gas tax cap that passed the Assembly today also included legislation establishing the fund, but it was defeated April 11 by the majority.

The Assembly minority followed up the defeat with news conferences across the state calling for the cap and fund, and they started a statewide petition drive to build grass-roots support. The minority blitz resulted in today’s vote on the tax cap, which is to save motorists 4 cents per gallon, based on current prices that hover about $3 per gallon. The approved legislation also allows county governments to impose a local sales tax cap at the same amount.

The fund still being promoted by the Assembly minority would promote research, development and usage of alternative fuels. It would be funded with state sales tax revenue realized from the second dollar of per gallon gas sales.

“The promotion of alternative fuels is a win-win for New Yorkers,” said Fitzpatrick. “It would lead to lower gas prices through lower demand, and a cleaner environment.”

“I am glad the Assembly is offering New Yorkers some relief at the pumps. However, the legislation lacks a long-term plan that would help stabilize energy costs for our future. More needs to be done in this regard.”

The cap is to take effect June 1.