New York Senate OKs fuel tax holidays

| 5/26/2011

The New York Senate has likely won more favor from residents in the state this week after approving legislation to suspend collecting taxes on fuel purchases for three holiday weekends in 2011. It now moves to the Assembly.

The Republican-led bill cleared the Senate on a 48-14 vote. The measure – S4880 – would lift the taxes on the state’s gas and diesel purchases for the Memorial Day, July Fourth and Labor Day holiday weekends.

Advocates say it would save consumers about 33 cents per gallon in state sales, motor fuel excise, and petroleum business taxes during the 12-day period. Local governments would also have the option of waiving their sales taxes of about 15 cents per gallon.

The state’s petroleum business tax accounts for 17 cents per gallon. The state sales tax and motor fuel excise tax each account for 8 cents.

In 2008, the Senate approved a similar effort, but the effort to suspend tax collection from May 23 through Sept. 1 died in the Democratic-controlled Assembly.

Party leaders and then-Gov. David Peterson cited concerns about the financial hit the state would take. Similar concerns have been mentioned this time with the state confronted with already flat – or falling – tax revenues.

Sen. Greg Ball, R-Patterson, said the bill would not harm the state’s Dedicated Highways and Bridge Trust Fund. As a result, he said it is time to take a stand against burdensome fuel costs.

“While those nations that hate us are getting rich at our expense, our blue collar families and small business owners are being mugged at the pump,” Ball said in a statement. “Governments should not smile and watch their coffers grow as taxpayer misery skyrockets with ever-increasing gas prices.”

How a tax break would affect the status of the International Fuel Tax Agreement in New York is uncertain.

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

Editor’s Note: Please share your thoughts with us about the legislation included in this story. Comments may be sent to