Assemblyman Pete Lopez (R,C,I-Schoharie) and Assemblyman George Amedore (R,C-Rotterdam) today held a press conference and round table discussion with over 40 truckers to build support for the thousands of truckers in New York who are struggling with the crushing cost of diesel fuel.
Following the press conference, Assembly members Lopez and Amedore used the information gathered from the event to create legislation aimed at easing the burden of rising fuel prices. Included in that legislation is the elimination of the “ton-mile tax,” the reduction of the sales tax on fuels and promotion of an Alternative Fuel Incentive Fund. Assemblyman Pete Lopez, along with individuals involved with biodiesel processing and distribution, also unveiled his new “Tax Free Biodiesel” legislation.
“Fuel prices and energy costs used to be a topic of casual conversation, but we’ve now reached the point where it is hurting our homes, families and businesses,” said Assemblyman Lopez. “As families are deciding between putting food on their table, gas in their vehicles and fuel in their home heating tanks, we need to push our colleagues on both the state and federal levels to make lower fuel prices, alternate energy and energy conservation a priority.”
Legislation discussed at the Round Table included:
- Establishment of the “Alternative Fuel Incentive Fund” to promote the research, development and usage of alternative energy fuels through tax credits, grants, investments and other incentives (A.5798);
- Reduction of the Petroleum Business Tax and State Sales Tax on motor and diesel fuel by HALF! (A. 9211);
- Creation of “Tax Free Biodiesel” legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Pete Lopez; and
- Elimination of the “Ton-Mile Tax” - New York is the only state in the region to employ a ton-mile tax. This factor produces an undesirable distortion of business decisions that are harmful to our truckers and the economy. This bill will eliminate the tax on vehicles with gross weights of 18,000 pounds or more. (A.6435)
Alicia Terry, Director of Planning, Schoharie County Planning and Development Agency, was in attendance at today’s press conference. Terry is in support of alternative energy sources that she says will lower costs across the board. “I believe we have an opportunity to answer this call to savings and create home-grown energy, while boosting upstate New York’s economy. Our farmers should have the opportunity to grow our energy solutions, but to do that, they need help. They are experts at growing the crops that will be the source of biodiesel, but the processing infrastructure is not in place,” said Terry.
She noted that the current demand does not support an effective business model. If biodiesel were available tax free at the pump, saving about 50 cents per gallon, private enterprise would dictate an increased demand, making the business models for growing and manufacturing biodiesel feasible. When you consider the economic multiplier for agriculture is 5 to 7 times, and the multiplier for manufacturing is 5 times, the potential to revive rural economies nationwide is tremendous. The dollars spent on energy will no longer go overseas for fuel; they will stay within our own economy and make it stronger.
“There is no doubt that the issues talked about today by truckers are hitting just as many families and businesses throughout New York,” said Lopez. “There is clearly a need for immediate action and I hope that this event today will go a long way in highlighting the need for a swift and responsive action from Albany.”