New York emissions deterrent includes sizable fuel tax increase

May 12, 2021

Keith Goble

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A plan being pursued in the state of New York is intended to reduce emissions. Adoption of the plan is expected to raise fuel tax rates by more than 50 cents.

New York now collects a 24.65-cent tax on gas purchases and a 22.85-cent tax on diesel, the state’s Department of Taxation and Finance reports.

Climate change initiative

Legislative efforts in the Democrat-led Senate and Assembly would require state greenhouse gas emissions to be trimmed 85% by 2050.

Dubbed the Climate and Community Investment Act, the green energy plan backed by statehouse Democrats would boost renewable resources at the same time as taxes collected on fossil fuels and pollutants would increase.

A fee of $55 per ton of greenhouse gas emitted would be collected on polluters. The carbon tax is estimated to raise $150 billion over the next decade to fund renewable technology, infrastructure, transportation and energy.

“It is paramount that New York accelerates its transition from fossil fuels to clean renewable energy,” Assembly Kevin Cahill, D-Kingston, said in a memo attached to the bill. “We need to protect our families, health, create good local jobs, and invest in clean energy solutions by finally making big polluters pay for the emissions they are dumping into our atmosphere.”

Truckers among hardest hit

General Assembly Republicans, the legislature’s minority party, warn the proposal could result in fuel prices being raised up to 55 cents per gallon. They say taxes also would be increased on heating oil, propane and natural gas.

Additionally, opponents warn that the legislation would implement regressive taxes that would leave lower- and middle-income families and workers, motorists, truckers, manufacturers and other industries, and seniors among the hardest hit.

“There is never a right time for a tax increase, but I cannot think of a worse time to propose a tax increase on these necessities,” Sen. Sue Serino, R-Dutchess, said in prepared remarks.

Deterrent to fossil fuel

Supporters says a deterrent is needed to boost sales of electric vehicles and use of mass transit in the state.

“By setting a price for greenhouse gas emissions and co-pollutants that threaten our health, corporate polluters will be incentivized to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and instead invest in cleaner technologies and energy sources,” Cahill wrote.

The bills, S4264 and A6967, are in their chamber’s respective Environmental Conservation committees. LL

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Keith Goble has been covering trucking-related laws since 2000. His daily web reports, radio news and “OOIDA’s State Watch” in Land Line Magazine are the industry’s premier sources for information regarding state legislative affairs.