The New York Senate has approved a measure designed to ease
the spiraling cost of motor fuels in the state.
“The state has been profiting from the rise in gas prices
because higher prices mean higher gas taxes,” Senate Majority Leader Joseph
Bruno, R-Brunswick, said in a recent statement on the bill. “The Senate plan
would cap the tax, reduce the cost of (motor fuels) at the pump and limit the
impact on consumers’ wallets.”
Senators approved the measure during a one-day special
session this past September only to see it fail to receive consideration in the
Assembly, effectively killing it for the year. Once the 2006 legislative
session kicked off last month, the effort was restarted in the Senate and sent
back to the Assembly for debate.
The sales tax cap legislation – S5968 – calls for the state
and localities to add sales tax to only the first $2 worth of a gallon of
gasoline or diesel. With the price at the pump about $2.60 a gallon throughout
most of New York, that would mean a savings of about 8 cents a gallon. At the
current pump price, it could save consumers as much as $240 million annually.
Bruno said localities could opt out of the tax.
Senators also are discussing a bill – S5969 – to prohibit
fueling stations from raising the price of fuel more than once a day. Any
station owner found in violation would be subject to a $1,000 fine per
The bill is in the Senate Consumer Protection Committee.