Hawley: Stop Raising Costs For New Yorkers & Our Businesses

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,I,C-Batavia) called upon the Governor to take action to stop the proposed toll hike on the New York State Thruway. Additionally, the Assemblyman is calling on the Governor and State Leaders to take immediate action to lower the costs for communities and businesses in Western New York.

“Every day the cost of living and doing business in our state is getting more and more expensive. Residents and businesses alike cannot afford the drastic increases in everything – from the price of gasoline to the price of milk and the increases cost of health care – businesses and New Yorkers are fleeing our state and it is imperative that the Governor take immediate action,” stated Hawley. Hawley indicates that the price per gallon of gasoline is lower in most every state. He recently returned from Arizona where prices averaged $2.63 per gallon, a savings of 70 cents per gallon from New York State prices.

Since 2005, the Thruway has raised tolls twice, including once earlier this month. Additionally, the state Thruway Authority unveiled a plan to raise tolls four more times, beginning this July. The plan also includes planned toll increases in January and July of 2009 and again in January 2010. Over the weekend State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, released a report that also urges the Thruway Authority to call off these planned toll hikes. DiNapoli’s report also called the most recent toll increase, implemented already, as unnecessary.

Assemblyman Hawley agrees with DiNapoli, although he stated that a commission or an audit was not necessary to prove that the costs of living and doing business in Western New York, in particular, are just too high. He said, “Everyone in Albany is calling for a task force or a study on why our state’s economy is failing, why businesses are leaving and why New Yorkers are putting their homes up for sale. The answer is simple – it is too expensive to live and work in New York State.”

“The time for studies and commissions is over – now is the time to take action,” continued the Assemblyman who is also calling for the State Legislature to immediately enact legislation that would lower the cost of gasoline. His plan would cap the amount at which the state is allowed to tax fuel and use the funds collected to promote the usage and availability of alternative fuels, such as ethanol. Additionally, Hawley is also calling on the State Legislature and Governor Spitzer to immediately enact the Property Taxpayers Protection Act, a comprehensive plan that would put into place a tax cap on property taxes and would save New York homeowners an estimated $16 billion.

“So far this year, we’ve heard some good things, but the lack of action that has been taken is in no way good for our state. The Governor promised tax relief, but he’s raising taxes and fees by an average of $11,000 per family. He’s allowing Thruway tolls to increase, allowing the cost of gasoline to increase and cutting tax incentives for businesses. How can we call this an ‘upstate revitalization plan’ – this sounds more like a plan to further deplete the quality of life we ‘upstaters’ are desperately trying to hold on to and improve,” concluded Hawley.