He will introduce legislation to cut gas tax to the national average
Assemblyman John Ceretto, R-C-I-Lewiston, has announced his major push for the 2015 legislative session. As gas prices fall below $2 nationwide, New York's gas prices are still in the mid-to-high $2-plus range. Ceretto said this discrepancy is wrong, and he is moving to correct it by pushing to lower New York's gas tax down to the national average.
The measure would cut the state gas tax by almost 40 percent from 34 cents per gallon to 20 cents per gallon. This translates to consumers paying 14 cents less per gallon at the pump every time they fill up. Ceretto said this would help put more money in the pockets of Western New Yorkers and stimulate economic growth.
"Gas prices have been dropping for the last several months, and this has been great news for Western New York families. However, our state still has one of the highest gas taxes in the country," Ceretto said. "In fact, New York is one of only five states left in the country where gas is still over $2 per gallon. This is a hidden tax on all hard-working Western New Yorkers that we need to rein in. By reducing this tax to match the national average, we can lower home heating and commuting costs for families, operating expenses and transportation costs for businesses, and improve the Western New York economy."
Ceretto's camp said the economic benefits of this cut to New York's families are significant, as transportation costs are a major part of a family's budget. When coupled with the savings on home heating costs that would occur during winter months, this progressive tax cut would have a positive impact on low- and middle-income families.
Much of the revenue generated by the gas tax goes to pay for the maintenance and improvement of highways and roads. Since Ceretto believes these infrastructure projects are critical to the future of Western New York, he proposes using both the bank settlement money and the state surplus to fully fund the mass transportation trust fund, the highway and bridge trust fund and the mass transportation operating assistance fund.
"In my first four years, we have lowered the middle-class tax rate to the lowest in 60 years, passed an important property tax freeze program, and turned a $10 billion deficit into a $5 billion surplus," Ceretto said. "We have made lowering taxes on middle-income families a top priority, and I have full confidence that we will be able to make progress with gas taxes as well."