State looks to slice 16 cents off a gallon of gas; counties not inclined to do so but Hawley says feds may step up
New York State lawmakers are close to an agreement to suspend a portion of gasoline taxes for the last seven months of this year, but similar action by most county governments doesn’t seem to be in the works.
“I know the state is looking at doing it, and they're doing it, but I don't anticipate too many county governments doing this,” County Manager Matt Landers said today. “I don’t know where Erie and Monroe (counties) stand on this.”
News out of Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office signals that the state will drop the price of a gallon of gas by about 4 percent -- approximately 16 cents per gallon of gas -- from June 1 through Dec. 31. On a 15-gallon fill-up, the savings to the consumer would be $2.40.
Landers said a recent informal poll of county administrators revealed that most were not looking at suspending their 4 percent (or so) sales tax from the price of gasoline.
“I don’t remember, specifically, which counties responded but all the ones that did said that was not something currently on their radar,” he said, while adding that a "discussion" about this subject with Genesee County legislators is likely to occur.
Sales tax accounts for a significant portion of county budgets. In Genesee’s case, sales tax proceeds are being earmarked for large capital projects, such as the construction of a new county jail.
The state tax break will reduce its revenue by about $600 million this year, but Hochul said that money received for pandemic relief and higher than anticipated tax revenue would enable it to handle the loss.
Reports indicate the state would suspend the 8-cent per gallon motor fuel tax and the 8-cent per gallon sales tax on gasoline.
State Assemblyman Stephen Hawley today said Republicans supported legislation to remove 33 cents from the cost of a gallon of gas, as well as state sales tax breaks on home cleaning supplies, clothing and food.
“With a $220.4 billion budget, we’ve got plenty of cash in a rainy day fund,” he said. “Some of what we proposed didn’t fall on deaf ears, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s not enough. We’ve got all kinds of surpluses, apparently, according to the governor.”
Hawley said he’s always been in favor of “giving that back to people so they can spend it in their communities, as opposed to sending it to the state where they can fritter it away.”
He added that the federal government is “going to be doing something as well – so, stay tuned on that.”
When asked if county governments should follow suit, he said they were given the opportunity, but understands municipalities’ reliance on sales tax to balance their budgets.
“That’s a large source of their revenue, so that’s not surprising at all,” he said.