Norris co-sponsors bill to suspend state gas tax that could cut 50 cents off a gallon

Posted 10 March 2022 at 11:06 am

Press Release, Assemblyman Mike Norris

Assemblyman Mike Norris (R,C-Lockport) is co-sponsoring new legislation that will suspend the state’s tax on motor fuels.

Michael Norris

Norris has been a longtime supporter of alleviating the tax burden on essentials like gasoline with legislation like the Inflation Relief and Consumer Protection Plan introduced in 2021 (A.8481), but he is also now co-sponsoring a new bill (awaiting bill number) that would suspend the entire state’s share of taxes on motor fuels for the next year to combat the rising costs caused by inflation and the war in Ukraine.

“People in Western New York have no choice but to drive. Gasoline is as essential to our daily lives as the air we breathe, but with prices at over $4.40 a gallon and quickly rising, this is a cost that people just cannot afford,” said Norris. “I am particularly concerned about constituents in rural areas, seniors and low-income workers, including young families, who are already scraping by. Albany needs to hear this message and take swift action.”

Norris pointed to the $2 billion budget surplus that is available in this year’s budget negotiations as a starting point to offset the cost of any revenue loss to the state. He said the most important thing is keeping people going and keeping the economy moving.

The new, bipartisan bill would provide nearly $0.50 per gallon in savings if enacted.

The state uses taxes collected from motor fuels to primarily fund three dedicated trust funds, with the “excess” of $511.8 million going into the state’s general use fund. Of the three dedicated trust funds, two are dedicated to mass transit—with the majority of funding going to mass transportation operating costs downstate. The third fund helps restore bridges.

As a member of the Assembly’s Ways and Means Committee, which is tasked with overseeing the budget process, as well as the house’s Transportation Committee, Norris said he believes enough funding already goes downstate to mass transit through separate MTA revenue streams.

“People in rural and suburban New York can’t hop on a subway,” Norris said. “We have to drive. We need immediate relief at the pump. As Gov. Hochul has pointed out, this year the state has a surplus of funding already. The MTA and downstate subway systems are already more than adequately funded, plus they also get the benefit of our Thruway tolls. Let’s find a solution to provide some relief now for the rest of New Yorkers in order to protect families and regional economies around our state.”

Assemblyman Mike Norris (R,C-Lockport) also serves as the Chairman of the Assembly Minority Conference. He represents the 144th Assembly District which includes portions of Erie, Niagara and Orleans counties. He is a member of the Assembly Ways and Means and Transportation committees.