Ortt and Republicans in Senate, Assembly concerned over proposed gas tax

Posted 20 August 2021 at 3:36 pm

GOP legislators say per gallon price could rise by 55 cents with new tax

Press Release, State Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt

SANBORN – Members of the Senate and Assembly Republican Conferences today held a listening session with stakeholders across various industries to discuss the potential impacts of the Climate and Community Investment Act (CCIA), a proposal being advanced by Albany Democrats that could increase the cost of gas by as much as 55 cents per gallon and increase home heating costs by more than 25 percent. Another listening session was held earlier this month in Albany.

The legislation (click here) would impose a carbon tax of $55 per ton of fossil fuel emissions in order to reach renewable energy mandates under the CCIA, passed by the Legislature in 2019.

The session was led by Senator Dan Stec and Assemblyman Robert Smullen, ranking members of the Senate and Assembly Environmental Conservation Committees, and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, ranking member of the Assembly Energy Committee. Discussions revolved around the potential impacts on small businesses, farms, and various sectors of the energy industry. The session provided an opportunity for lawmakers to listen to testimony directly from stakeholders from across those industries.

“No matter how well-intended, legislation has to be weighed for its potential drawbacks. In this case, many of us have serious concerns for people we represent in rural regions who rely on their cars,” Senator Stec said. “Public transportation isn’t an option. When someone can’t afford to fill their gas tank, that means kids will miss out on after-school activities, home health aides won’t be able to get to the people who need their care and the cost of essential goods and services will go up. Many people, especially seniors on fixed incomes, have trouble keeping their homes warm during winter. A much bigger fuel bill would only add to their misery when the mercury dips well below zero for weeks at a time. A tax of this magnitude would be incredibly regressive, hurting lower-income New Yorkers the most.”

“New Yorkers are still reeling from the devastating impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic and our economy continues to struggle,” Senator Ortt said. “This out-of-touch bill would be another hit to hardworking New Yorkers and small businesses who will be faced with skyrocketing costs at the pump and increased heating costs. We need to work together on real solutions other than the typical Albany tax-and-spend policies that continue to inflict harm on our already struggling taxpayers and small businesses.”

According to the Tax Foundation, New York currently has the 7th highest gas tax in the country, at 43.12 cents per gallon with  California currently the highest at 62.47 cents per gallon. This legislation would raise New York’s tax to 98.12 cents per gallon, an increase of more than 127 percent, and would make New York’s gas tax more than 57 percent higher than any other state. New York State has repeatedly been named one of the worst business tax climates in the nation by the Tax Foundation.

“Here in Western New York there is no real other option than to drive in order to get to work or school or for essential errands like picking up groceries or going to the doctor,” said Assemblyman Michael Norris of Lockport. “Our entire regional economy depends on New Yorkers’ ability to afford gasoline prices – and not just individual motorists but also the commercial trucking industry that supplies our region with the goods we all need. With everyone working so hard to rebuild after the economic shutdown, raising gasoline prices now is a misstep and will make it that much harder for businesses, families, and those who are already struggling to survive.”