ALBANY, N.Y. (WROC) — Lawmakers in Albany are debating how they could provide some relief at the pumps as New York drivers continue to feel the burden of higher prices.
Assemblymembers and Senators on both sides of the aisle are calling for the suspension of the state gas tax going in the next fiscal year’s budget which begins in April.
This comes as AAA calculated the average gas price across New York was $4.46 a gallon last week.
“There are a lot of contributing factors to compounding to put us in this position,” Sen. Samra Brouk of Rochester said. “And we’ve got to act smart to make sure the people at the end of the day feel a difference.”
One way to knock prices down would be the passage of Senate Bill 8483 which would suspend the state gas tax through September.
The suspension would deduct about 33 cents off each gallon driver’s purchase. Excluding local sales tax put on fuel purchases.
“I want to make sure that if we do suspend the gas tax that it actually impacts us at the pumps as consumers,” Sen. Jeremey Cooney of Rochester said. “Just because you get rid of a tax doesn’t mean that these big oil companies are going to pass those savings to us.”
“Especially with the situation in Ukraine we don’t know how that’s going to play out,” Assemblyman Brian Manktelow of Lyons added. “I think it would be smart to say pull back and stop spending some money and let’s help our people. It’s their money let’s give it back for a while and make sure we take care of them.”
Another concern holding back certain lawmakers is how cutting the gas tax could impact Highway maintenance budgets.
Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara has also called to lift the state’s gas tax for one year. Neither of these proposals has made it for a vote on the floor. But as debates continue lawmakers argue long-term solutions need to be discussed as well to lower fuel costs.
“The bigger and longer fix needs to be looking back in Albany and think just like in our homes we need to cut the budget back in Albany,” Assemblyman Manktelow said. “Making sure we leave the money in our pockets back home.”
“We need to look at reducing our reliance on foreign oil by investing in renewable energy sources,” Sen. Cooney argued. “Which we know is far less expensive and we can control in the United States of America.”
The deadline to have next fiscal year’s budget drawn up is April 1st.