To help lower costs from high inflation, Assembly GOP calls for suspending sales tax on many items

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 24 January 2022 at 8:11 pm

Photo from Will Barclay’s Twitter page: Will Barclay, minority leader of the Statte Assembly, speaks today in Albany about a proposal to suspend the state’s share of sales tax on many items for two years.

The Assembly Republican Conference today unveiled a plan to eliminate the state’s 4 percent sales tax on many items for the next two years to help lower costs during a time when inflation is at a 40-year high.

The conference includes Steve Hawley of Batavia and Mike Norris of Lockport, who both have districts that include a portion of Orleans County.

The overall Consumer Price Index is up 7.0 percent between December 2020 and December 2021. The average consumer is experiencing a monthly increase in expenses of $375, while a family of four is paying $513 more due to inflation, according to the GOP conference which is led by Will Barclay of Pulaski.

The conference’s “Inflation Relief & Consumer Assistance Plan” would suspend state sales tax charges on various items such as gasoline, personal care products (shampoo, toothpaste, body wash), housekeeping supplies (laundry, detergents, disinfectants) and ready-to-eat food purchases at grocery stores, restaurants and food trucks. Will Barclay, the minority conference leader, said the sales tax suspension would save consumers $2.6 billion a year.

It would come at a time when gas prices are up 49.6 percent, energy prices up 29.3 percent, food away from home up 6.0 percent, plus a 2.1 percent increase in housekeeping supplies and 3.2 percent increase in paper products, Barclay said.

“Our proposal will give all New Yorkers a measure of financial relief during an extremely difficult time,” Barclay said in a statement today. “New York is in a strong financial position where revenues have exceeded expectations. Let’s pass on some needed savings to people who have fought through a pandemic and are now dealing with a crushing cost-of-living crisis that’s being felt in every community.”

Assemblyman Steve Hawley issued this statement in support of the proposal: “Inflation is an economic force that impacts the working class more than anyone else, erasing the impact of wage increases as people find their paychecks buying less and less every week,” Hawley said. “For those who rely on fuel to heat their homes, these price increases mean less money put aside for college and emergency funds, fewer family nights out, and for some, choosing between heating their homes or filling up their vehicles. Passing this legislation would have a direct and immediate impact on the economic well-being of New Yorkers and restore the power of their hard-earned paychecks.”

Assemblymen Mike Norris issued this statement: “There is so much more our state can be doing to help people deal with the rising cost of inflation, and that’s why I was proud to join Leader Barclay and my colleagues today to call for action on our Inflation Relief and Consumer Assistance Plan,” Norris said. “I announced this plan last fall and hoped Gov. Hochul would include it in her Executive Budget proposal, but it is not too late for this plan to be part of the final state budget where it belongs. The people of our state need real relief from the rising costs of every day essential goods like gasoline, cleaning products and personal care items. There is room in the budget for our plan, which would only cost $2.6 billion annually. But that savings kept in the pockets of New Yorkers would be immeasurable. New York is one of the only states to tax some of these items, and it’s because of the incessant taxation that so many people decide to move out of state once and for all. Let’s stop the exodus, combat inflation and the monthly increase everyone is experiencing, and help enable our economy to move forward by taking action on this plan now.”