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Environmental groups demand that the NY gas tax suspension be rejected

Environmental groups demand that the NY gas tax suspension be rejected

On Friday, prominent environmental, transit, and good-government organizations urged Gov. Kathy Hochul should reject a state budget proposal to suspend gas tax funding. She argued that it would be counter to state efforts to combat climate change, and deprive road-improvement projects of funding.

Hochul and lawmakers are currently discussing a possible suspension of the tax. This would take effect from May 1, to the end, as the gasoline per-gallon price in many parts New York remains above $4.

This provision was included in the budget proposal of the Democrats in the state Senate earlier this month. New Yorkers pay 47 cents to 48cents per Gallon in gas taxes.

However, a variety of organizations, including Reinvent Albany and Environmental Advocates NY, New Yorkers for Fiscal Fairness, and the Riders Alliance, are opposed to any suspension.

“If the state Legislature really wants to help those New Yorkers who are most affected by increases in food, energy and housing costs, it should provide targeted assistance,” they stated in a joint statement. “In New York state and nationally, wealthy people drive far more than low-income people. This means that New York State’s gas tax holiday would be disproportionately beneficial to those who are least in need.

New York is expected generate $2 billion in gas taxes revenue. The money goes to road maintenance, as well as support for mass-transit programs.

The groups stated that general tax revenue could be used to provide targeted benefits to the most affected by rising prices or for many other socially beneficial investments. The gas tax’s purpose is to make motorists pay for their roads, encourage mass transit use, and discourage the consumption of gasoline that causes climate warming carbon dioxide and other pollutants.

Hochul questioned whether consumers would benefit fully from a suspension in the gas tax. Sources said that Friday’s negotiations have not seen a proposal for a rebate program that is based on the number cars registered to a household. This program was similar to the one in California.

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