‘Gas Tax Holiday’ Idea Emerges Again as WNY Pump Prices Soar

As state lawmakers craft a new state budget with Governor Hochul, they are also hearing from voters growing frustrated with gasoline prices.

BUFFALO, NY – As we lament rising gas prices, some county and state lawmakers say it might also be time to take a look at taxes on those skyrocketing costs by gallon.

As our state legislators hammer out a new state budget with Governor Hochul in Albany, they’re also hearing it from voters growing frustrated with these rising costs to fuel and run their vehicles. .

A Democratic Assemblyman — Angelo Santa Barbara of Schenectady — recently added his voice to a chorus of GOP lawmakers by introducing a bill to suspend the collection of state sales taxes on gasoline as the costs are so high.

Republican State Senator George Borrello of Jamestown said, “New York State should feel some of that pain as well by losing that revenue. It could motivate our state to stop hurting our energy industry and start supporting New Yorkers and Americans in general.

This is because of all the taxes added to the base price of gasoline per gallon by the state and federal governments before the sales tax was even applied. There are royalties and taxes for petroleum activities, spills, and testing, and then excise taxes at the state and federal level that are supposed to go to highway construction and maintenance.

Borrello says, “The way to participate in the nearly 50-cent-a-gallon reduction is to suspend that tax and that would at least bring immediate relief.”

But once all of these fees are applied, they are added together to the 8.75% sales tax here in Erie County.

Erie County Legislator Joseph Lorigo is the minority leader.

“Based on how the gas tax is calculated and it’s a state law decision – it’s not a county decision – but based on how the tax of sale is calculated on gasoline sales – it is taxed at the highest possible level because we pay tax on the cost of gasoline, the cost of federal taxes and the cost of state taxes,” Lorigo said.

So again taxes and fees are also imposed for real double taxation.

“I think Erie County in the Legislature, we should be looking at ways to change that, especially as we’re sitting on unprecedented cash surpluses over the past two years,” Lorigo said.

This would be pandemic relief funding from the federal government to cover COVID costs and recovery.

But then from Erie County Comptroller Kevin Hardwick.

“I think everyone would like to see taxes come down in general. But at the end of the day there is a cost to the government. And the question is what is the fairest way or the best way to pay for these services – do you want to pay sales tax or do you want to pay property tax?”

The Hardwick office points out that pandemic funding is limited and county sales tax is also shared by school districts and local governments.

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