New York bills would end ton-mile tax, reduce fuel tax in certain areas

| 5/2/2008

Two bills in the New York Assembly would eliminate collection of a tax applied to truck drivers and reduce the state’s fuel tax in certain areas.

Assemblyman William Magnarelli, D-Syracuse, introduced one measure that would rid the state of administering the truck mileage tax – also known as the ton-mile tax.

The ton-mile tax is based on the specific weight of trucks. It is intended to offset wear and tear on roads by charging fees for miles traveled in the state.

The nearly 60-year old levy is applied to vehicles with maximum gross weights exceeding 18,000 pounds operating in the state. New York doesn’t charge truckers the ton-mile tax on miles traveled on toll roads.

Supporters of the bill point out that New York is the only state in the region to administer the tax. They say it is a barrier to competition with neighboring states.

Elimination of the tax would benefit truckers, manufacturers, shippers and consumers, they say.

Others say truckers already pay high user fees for road work. The fees include the state’s 36-cent-per-gallon diesel tax and registration fees.

The bill – A421 – is sitting in the Assembly Ways and Means Committee.

Another bill in the Ways and Means Committee would eliminate the motor fuel excise tax and petroleum business tax near Indian reservations. Sponsored by Assemblyman David Townsend Jr., R-Sylvan Beach, the measure – A3809 – would reduce the taxes on motor fuels by 20 cents per gallon in areas within a 20-mile radius of Indian reservations.

Statewide, about 1,000 retail fuel stations would be affected.

Advocates say the bill would allow retail stations to become competitive in their prices with fuels sold in neighboring Indian reservations. They say there typically is a 30-cent price difference.

Although the state would receive less direct tax revenue, increased sales for affected stores would do more to benefit the state in the long run, they say.

To view other legislative activities of interest for New York in 2008, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor