Following the passage of a New York state budget that included a 16-cent reduction per gallon in state gas taxes beginning June 1, several Niagara County legislators are looking to provide additional relief to motorists from the county sales tax.
The state budget gives counties the option to cap their sales tax on gas purchases at any one of three prices points – $2, $3 or $4 a gallon – if they so choose. The current Niagara County sales tax is 4%.
“Motorists need relief from high gas prices, and we have the ability to add to what the state has done to further lower prices,” Niagara County Legislator Chris Voccio said. “I have been talking about this even before the state budget was passed, and now I believe there is bipartisan support to move this forward.”
Niagara County Legislature Minority Leader Chris Robins said he supports this plan, as well, but has one major concern.
“I want to talk with state leaders about how we can ensure that these reductions are going to translate to lower gas prices,” he said. “The full amount of any state and county gas tax reduction needs to be passed along to consumers at the pump.”
Niagara County Legislature Majority Leader Randy Bradt said he has asked the county manager and budget director to look at the impact of the different scenarios on the county budget.
“It’s important to make sure any gas sales tax reduction does not create a significant budget gap that impacts property taxpayers,” Bradt said. “However, I’m confident, given that sales tax revenue has been increasing since the height of the pandemic even beyond budgeted expectations, that we can adjust our budget as needed.”
The Niagara County Legislature expects to review options at committee meetings on April 25. The intention is to have a plan in place to coincide with the state gas tax reduction that takes effect June 1.