Contact: Joshua Fitzpatrick, (518) 455-3751
For Immediate Release:
April 30, 2008

Tedisco, Assembly Minority Call For A
"Summer Holiday" From High Gas Prices

As gas prices continue climbing to record highs with no end in sight, Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco (R,C,I-Schenectady-Saratoga) and the Assembly Minority Conference today called for relieving some of the pain at the pump motorists and small businesses are feeling by instituting a "summer holiday" from state gas taxes. The Minority's summer gas tax holiday would, on average, provide a nearly .30-cent savings per gallon of gasoline and a .35-cent savings per gallon of diesel fuel.

During a press conference held at the State Capitol today, Tedisco and the Assembly Minority members called for suspending the three state taxes on gasoline - the 8-cent motor fuel tax, the 8-cent sales tax and the 16-cent Petroleum Business Tax - from Memorial Day until Labor Day, 2008.

"Record high gas prices are putting a serious strain on motorists' wallets, family budgets and small business bottom lines. High gas prices are a big part of the painful 'middle class squeeze' New Yorkers are enduring. New York's overtaxed, overburdened, overregulated motorists deserve a holiday from high gas taxes, especially during the summertime months when more families traditionally take to the roadways," Tedisco stated.

"High gas prices have a negative multiplier effect, driving up the cost of everyday goods as small businesses bear the price of higher fuel costs and ultimately pass it onto consumers. The fastest way to put the brakes on rising fuel, food and other commodity costs is by instituting a much-needed holiday from state fuel taxes for motorists and small businesses," Tedisco said.

The Minority members also voiced their strong support for a legislative proposal recently put forth by Presidential nominee Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) that would institute a summertime fuel tax holiday by suspending federal gas taxes. McCain's "Gas Tax Holiday" amendment would temporarily shelve the 18.4-cent per gallon Federal gas tax between Memorial Day and Labor Day 2008.

"Energy costs in New York are among the highest in the country. The skyrocketing price of fuel is not only hurting consumers, but is taking a terrible toll on the bottom lines of small business all around New York. High fuel prices drive up the cost of doing business and transporting goods, and threaten to cripple small businesses already struggling with an adverse economic climate and the nation's second cost of doing business. I commend the Assembly Minority Conference for proposing this action to provide much needed relief for individuals and businesses alike - one that we hope will be a first step toward permanently lowering fuel costs in New York, which continue to be considerably higher than those of neighboring states," said Mike Elmendorf, New York State Director of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), New York's leading small business advocacy organization.

"Rising fuel costs are having a huge impact on the trucking industry. For many motor carriers, fuel is now equal to labor as the highest expense; and for some carriers, fuel has likely surpassed labor as their largest expense," said Kendra Adams, Acting President of the New York State Motor Truck Association. "I'd like to thank Assemblymen Tedisco, Amedore and the rest of the Assembly Minority Conference for taking the time to listen to the concerns of New York truckers."

"Summer tourism is so vitally important to my district's economy and I'm really concerned that the high price of gasoline will make middle class families think twice before taking that long weekend trip out to my part of Long Island," said Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. (R,I,C-Sag Harbor). "The legislature can't continue to sit on the sidelines and hope things will get better. We need positive action for motorists now."

"The number of people leaving New York State is alarming, especially when you look at the factors causing it," said Assemblyman David G. McDonough (R,C,I-Merrick) "Gas prices are a major part of the equation and must be addressed now. I fully support the idea of a Gas Tax Holiday and the relief it will provide to thousands of middle class residents already struggling to make ends meet."

"The high price at the gas pump is forcing middle class families to cut back everywhere and this has a ripple effect on businesses and on our economy," said Assemblyman Rob Walker (R,C,I,WF-Hicksville). "Let's give New Yorkers a summer vacation from high gas prices by suspending the three state taxes on gasoline."

"With the cost of living in New York placing more stress on family budgets, we need to do all we can to help relieve some of the burden that rising gas prices are putting on our already over-taxed consumers," said Assemblyman Cliff Crouch (R-Guilford). "Our summer gas tax holiday is a step in the right direction."

"By eliminating all 3 state taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel from Memorial Day through Labor Day, we can save taxpayers approximately 30 cents per gallon," said Assemblyman Jim Bacalles (R,C,I-Corning). "This plan will go a long way toward helping families in the upcoming summer months of vacations and road trips."

"Rising Gas prices are taking a serious toll on New York's small businesses," said Assemblyman Bill Reilich (R,C,I-Greece), Chairman of the Assembly Minority Task Force on Small Business in New York State. "Owner-operated truckers and business owners that rely on trucks to deliver their products are especially hard-hit. We must stop this 'perfect storm' of high fuel prices, high taxes, rising insurance costs and burdensome government regulation from forcing business owners to move out of state."

"New York's working families rely on local truckers to deliver the food, medicine and dry goods that keep our households running," said Assemblyman George Amedore (R,C - Rotterdam), a member of the Assembly Committee on Economic Development, Job Creation, Commerce and Industry. "Painful increases in the price of gasoline have made it more and more difficult to balance the family checkbook and are especially devastating to the men and women that make their living on the road. With the cost of diesel fuel approaching five dollars a gallon, the time to help our local truckers is now."

"Residents all across the state are in desperate need of relief when it comes to the rising costs of everyday expenses," said Assemblywoman Nancy Calhoun (R,C,-Blooming Grove). "A suspension of the gas tax is just one way we can lessen the burden for thousands of New Yorkers."

"It is simple economics: when people have to spend more on basic necessities like fuel and food, they have less to spend elsewhere, causing a further drag on an economy already mired in recession. By removing federal and state taxes on a gallon of gas, we can provide some measure of short-term relief that motorists and small businesses have been calling for. My Minority colleagues and I applaud Senator McCain for being the presidential candidate who was first in addressing this pressing issue," Tedisco said.

Tedisco and his Assembly Minority colleagues also called on New York's Congressional Delegation to support Senator McCain's proposal.

"What New York needs is for its entire Congressional delegation to announce their support for Senator McCain's proposal once it is formally introduced. New York's motorists need them to stand up and speak out in favor of giving motorist a well-deserved break from high gas prices this summer," Tedisco concluded.

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