Contact: Phil Oliva, (518) 455-3756
For Immediate Release:
Thursday, May 11, 2006

Tedisco Applauds Gas Tax Cap Agreement, Calls On 77 Majority Members To Change Their Votes

Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco (R,C,I-Schenectady, Saratoga) today applauded the agreement to cap the sales tax on gasoline at $2.00 to give motorists some relief at the pumps. Tedisco said the State had been reaping a windfall of up to $120 million over the past year because as gas prices rise, the sales tax, which is pegged to the cost of a gallon of gasoline, increased as well. He said returning that windfall to the taxpayers is the right thing to do.

Tedisco also called on the 77 Assembly Majority members who defeated a Minority amendment on April 11th to cap the sales tax on gasoline at $2.00 to change their votes. The amendment failed by a margin of 64-77.

"Obviously, we're going to need some of them to switch their votes to get this to pass. It would be good if they all did so," said Tedisco. "We're not out of the woods yet. For weeks they had some critical comments on why this was a bad idea. But I am optimistic that they will come around now that their Speaker has."

Assembly Minority members have been hammering away on the issue in recent weeks. In addition to the April 11th vote, they held press conferences in Albany and around the state on April 13th, 18th, 26th and May 5th calling for the cap and creation of the Alternative Fuel Incentive Fund. They also started a statewide petition drive to build grassroots support.

Now that they are close to achieving short-term relief (tax cap) they say they will continue to push for the second step, long-term relief portion of their plan, the Alternative Fuel Incentive Fund. It would be paid for by half of the remaining sales tax revenue on gasoline and would provide tax credits, grants, investments and other incentives to encourage ownership of hybrid and flex-fuel vehicles and the building of alternative fueling stations and refineries.

"The long term solution must be a transition away from fossil fuels. We must look more toward homegrown alternative fuels like ethanol and bio-diesel," said Tedisco. "Doing so will reduce fuel costs through lessened demand for gasoline. It will also create jobs and opportunities for our farmers and manufacturers, and will be better for our environment and our national security."

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