2006-05-26 / Community

Relief At The Pump For New Yorkers

Legislation to provide New York State residents with relief from high gas prices by reducing and capping state and local sales taxes on gasoline has been signed into law, announced Assemblywoman Michele Titus.

"Since the federal government is dragging its feet instead of helping consumers who are struggling at the pump, we stepped in," Assemblywoman Titus said. "By capping the state's sales tax, New Yorkers will feel some relief from high gas prices."

Assemblywoman Titus noted that the law will cap sales taxes on gas at 8 cents per gallon, which locks in the tax at the $2 per gallon rate. For example, with prices at $3 per gallon, the cap will reduce the tax on gas by 4 cents per gallon. If gas prices should dip below $2 per gallon, the 8-cent cap would be reduced proportionately.

The gas tax cap will take effect on June 1 for the state sales tax and July 1 for local sales taxes. Under this new law, local governments across the state will be able to pass their own legislation to cap local sales taxes on gasoline. In addition, New York City will be allowed to reduce or eliminate its sales tax on residential energy.

More specifics of the gas law include:

+ Requiring that service station owners pass along the savings to consumers.

+ Making the state Commissioner of Taxation and Finance, in conjunction with the chair of the state Consumer Protection Board, responsible for enforcing the gas cap.

+ Fining gas stations up to $5,000 per incident, per day, if they neglect to pass savings on to consumers.

"Capping the gas tax is the first step in the right direction, but more needs to be done," Assemblywoman Titus said. "In absence of federal leadership, New Yorkers are looking to their state leaders to give them much-needed energy relief."

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