New York Senate votes for fuel tax holiday

| 5/8/2008

In hopes of easing the burden for consumers to fuel their vehicles, the New York Senate has approved legislation to suspend collecting taxes on fuel purchases this summer. It now moves to the Assembly where it is expected to die.

The Republican-led bill cleared the Senate on a 46-15 vote. The measure – S7594 – would lift the taxes on the state’s gas and diesel purchases from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. Advocates say it would save consumers about 32 cents per gallon in state sales, motor fuel excise and petroleum business taxes during the three-month price break.

They also say that savings would double for consumers if the federal government endorses a potential suspension of collections of the federal tax on gas and diesel.

The New York bill’s next stop is the Democratic-controlled Assembly. The effort is unlikely to gain any traction there as party leaders and Democratic Gov. David Paterson are opposed to the idea.

They cite concerns about the financial hit the state would take from May 23 through Sept. 1. It is projected that New York would lose $500 million in revenues that pay for road and bridge work.

Others say they don’t trust the oil industry to keep prices stable to allow consumers to enjoy the savings.

Included in the bill is a provision that could allow for more consumer savings. It would give local governments the option to suspend collection of local sales taxes.

In addition, fuel station owners and fuel distributors would be penalized if they do not pass along savings from the initiative.

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

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor