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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 must reject the state budget’s proposed suspension of the gas tax. It would go against state efforts to combat climate changes and deprive funding for road improvements.

Hochul and lawmakers are currently negotiating a suspension of the tax, which would be in effect from May 1 through the end of the calendar year, as long as the gasoline price per gallon remains above $4 in many areas of New York.

The provision was introduced earlier this month by Democrats at the state Senate in their budget proposal. New Yorkers pay 47 cents to 48 Cents per Gallon in gas taxes.

A variety of organizations including Reinvent Albany NY, Environmental Advocates NY and New Yorkers for Fiscal Fairness are opposed to any suspension.

They said that if the state Legislature wants to help New Yorkers most affected by rising food, housing, and energy costs, it should provide targeted aid. “In New York state and nationally, wealthy people drive far more than low-income people. This means that New York State gas tax holidays would be disproportionately in the favor of those who most need it.

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 asked whether consumers would be fully benefited from a suspension on the gas tax. Sources on Friday indicated that a rebate program based upon the number of cars registered to a household has not gained traction in negotiations.

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