ALBANY, N.Y. — With gasoline prices nearing $4 a gallon, the New York Senate plans to pass a bill Wednesday that would suspend the state’s gasoline taxes for the summer months. But the Republican-backed measure faces opposition in the Assembly and reservations in the governor’s office.
The proposed legislation would abolish the 32-cent-per-gallon tax from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
“Higher prices at the pump coupled with higher costs on everyday items like milk, bread and eggs are making it more difficult for middle-class families to make ends meet,” said Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno.
Opponents say the three-month elimination of the tax would mean $500 million less for road and bridge construction.
Presidential contenders Hillary Rodham Clinton and John McCain have called for a summer holiday from the 18-cent-per-gallon federal gas tax. Barack Obama opposes the idea.
Last week, Gov. David A. Paterson expressed reservations about suspending the state gas tax. “It’s a meritorious proposal if, in fact, that savings is passed along to the consumer,” he said, and called for “guarantees” that gasoline retailers and oil companies would not keep the savings. “I’m not going to say I oppose it, but it is my concern we would be giving away revenue and not seeing it get into the pockets of consumers.”
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver continued to voice strong opposition Tuesday. “I think that the Republicans, both in the Senate and Assembly, are just covering the failures of the Bush administration,” he said.